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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Article on Dumb Little Man

Link to an article I published on Dumb Little Man:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Success comes easily

If you have ever worked in a sales job (and I'm sure there are many other examples of this effect in other walks of life), you'll have experienced two different situations:

1. a sale that took forever, and maybe never happened, that was real slog, hard work, chasing up the client, trying to persuade, cajole, influence etc

2. a sale that was a pleasure, from start to finish, seemingly smooth and simple to bring in, even an enjoyable process

Why the difference? If we knew the reason, maybe we could have more of the number 2 experience and less of the number 1 experience!

(To be continued...)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Living an Extraordinary Life

If you are looking forward to seeing out the rest of your days in a fairly inoffensive, average, 'one of the crowd' kind of way, stop reading now (in fact, you are probably not reading now...).

If you feel in your bones that there is more juice to be had from life, read on...

After 30 years in business and 7 years in training, coaching and extensive voluntary work, I now offer to help people get what they want through a simple four-step process which enables more success in business, in your personal life, in parenting, in your career, or in any area of your life where you’d like to make a change.

Employing a simple 4-step coaching process, we work together on your success:

1. What do you want? – we get clarity on what you’re aiming for

2. What do you have today? – we stock-check your resources

3. How might you be in future? – we look at how you’d like things to be different

4. What will you do? – time to take action, supported fully by your coach!

What is coaching? A series of powerful conversations that open up new possibilities and enable change, so that you get more from life.

Who sets the agenda? You do. With the support of your coach, you decide what a successful life means to you, and we go after that, on your terms.

How does it work? You get to dream your dreams in a safe and supportive environment, then with a healthy injection of realism and optimism, supported by a professionally trained listener/questioner, you decide what you want, when, how fast and we make the change happen. Coaching sessions are usually a one hour phone call. Additional email support may be offered. You can choose to have as many or as few sessions as you wish. Monthly or bi-weekly sessions are typical patterns.

Can anyone be a coach? Yes, although it doesn’t make them a good coach, of course! I trained and practised with Coach University for 3 years, who are accredited by the International Coach Federation. I can provide references from colleagues who respect my coaching on request.

How much does it cost? About the same as a nice meal for two; £50 per hour. A nice meal for two, or a more successful life? The choice is yours (you might choose both, of course...).

How do I know the coaching will be successful? You will define success for yourself, with my help. We’ll work on those aspects that you choose to change. Success is becoming the person you really want to and can be. That’s what we’ll do together. Remember, the only person you can change is yourself. I think there’s a huge potential there, waiting to be unleashed!

Is coaching for me? Coaching is not for everyone. It’s not free, and it involves work and commitment. Coaching is an important element of my work, alongside my writing, training and voluntary activities. I necessarily limit the number of hours per week I make available for each of these. I choose to work with those people who know there’s more excitement and passion to be had in life, and want that journey for themselves.

Next? Let’s have a half hour ‘taster’ session on the phone, and you can see for yourself whether this is for you, and whether we hit it off.

Call me now on (+44) (0)759 5534239.

Monday, October 5, 2009

How to bring more joy into your daily life... Lessons learned by an Englishman in New York

It would be hard to imagine two more contrasting worlds. Above me, stretching up into the heavy rain clouds, the opulence of the Trump Tower, sleek and black. Behind me, on a busy Fifth Avenue sidewalk, a charity worker soliciting for cash donations from the passing throng.
Lucky enough to have been able to organise a Saturday in Manhattan, following a week’s business trip to Connecticut from the UK, I was intent on soaking up the sights and sounds of one of the world’s great cities.
I walked away from the charity worker, initially mistaking him for a salesman of some kind (there are plenty of people trying to sell to you in New York City!). Then his words began to penetrate my consciousness, and I realised that he was collecting to provide meals for the homeless. This being one of the charitable causes that I tend to support, I turned back and grabbed a small handful of change from my pocket (probably a couple of dollars) and poured it into his collecting jar. We exchanged pleasantries and he told me that there are fifty thousand homeless people in the city and that the cash will help to feed them. Then I was on my way again. I stopped once more, reflected, and went back with another five dollars for him. I was doing quick values calculations, of how badly I needed the money, compared with someone who lives on the street, what I would use the five dollars for, compared with the street person, and so on.
It struck me that fifty thousand was a big number of people to be on the streets. I wondered momentarily how many people were giving donations on the street today and how many donations it would take to feed all fifty thousand. I watched, for one minute, and counted around one hundred people passing the charity worker on the sidewalk. And the vast majority made no donation at all. I made a quick calculation that if each and every person passing gave two dollars to this one charity worker, we’d probably collect enough in a day to feed the lot. By the way, it’s hard to know how many of those passing were Americans; a large proportion of that crowd, on a Saturday, I would guess would be foreign tourists.
Now, all this talk of fancy business trips, New York City, and giving away hard earned cash might give the false impression that I am one of those lucky ones with plenty of cash in the bank and can well afford to spread a little around. So, in case you think this story is only for the well-heeled, I have to confess that my financial liquidity right now is less than great. I earn a decent salary, but like many have maintenance (alimony) payments, mortgage payments, household bills, and (frankly) I’m not the world’s best at managing money. So I have a hefty overdraft, loan interest payments, you get the picture. I did stop and think before donating, asking myself whether I could afford it.
What I want to share with you is that the amount of joy I feel in my life has increased hugely since I changed the way I think about other people over the last few years. And here’s the mindset change; we human beings are all one big family on this little blue planet.

Stephen Covey (‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’) talks about an abundance mentality, versus a scarcity mentality. In a scarcity mentality, we believe that there is not enough to go around. Resources are limited, we live in a competitive world, anything you get represents a little bit less available for me, a zero-sum game (all your gains are to my detriment). (By the way, for a hilarious exposition on this attitude, get yourself a copy on DVD of the original 1960 movie ‘School for Scoundrels’, in which the brilliant Alastair Sim, playing Dr. Stephen Potter, teaches ‘one-upmanship’ to the hapless Henry Palfrey, in his bid to win the girl from my all time favourite movie cad, Terry-Thomas... “The world was divided into winners and losers... in a word, the ‘one-up’ and the ‘one-down’. “
An abundance mentality takes the view that there is enough for everyone. We can find a way to share the cake so that we all get a slice. If we work together, maybe we can even discover ways to create a bigger cake, so that we all get to have a little more.
Now, just think for a moment, which of these worldviews leads to advancement of the human race? Which approach would more likely succeed in getting a crew of astronauts to the moon and back, safely (remember the movie of ‘Apollo 13’?). Which approach most contributed to New York being the fabulous city it is today, with its vastly improved crime statistics and lively, diverse population? In a scarcity mentality, would immigrants be allowed to enter that great port at all, for fear of draining the resources and wealth of the city’s citizens? Well, you know, that’s how the city was built and thrived, fuelled by the queues of wide-eyed hopefuls landing at Ellis Island, with hearts full of possibility.
And isn’t that really what the American dream is all about; the art of the possible, the hope of a new and better beginning? Scarcity thinking, or abundance thinking?
Now, when it comes to doing the right thing, generally in life I have learned (by my 48th year) to listen to my inner guidance system. This system is a combination of intuition, listening to your heart, gut feeling. I think it’s no coincidence that these phrases relate to the visceral, they are about what our body is telling us, rather than our intellect and our logic.
And, simply, it works like this; go with whatever puts a feeling of joy into your heart, and a spring into your step. This is almost certainly an indication that you have made a good choice and are doing the best thing for all concerned, including yourself!
You do, however, need to distinguish between joy and pleasure. Joy is a natural high without the chemicals a feeling you get when your spirit soars, the world becomes an open and friendly place and the feeling is a lasting, growing experience. Pleasure, on the other hand, can be artificially induced using chemicals, by spending money (‘retail therapy’) or by scoring a victory over others (e.g. by jumping a queue or getting away without paying for something). You momentarily feel ahead of the game, up on the deal, a winner! (Dr Stephen Potter smiles down!). This momentary pleasurable effect may last anywhere between ninety seconds to an hour. And then it’s gone. Not only that, you didn’t contribute to the net joy in the world!
Here are a few tips for how to feel more joyful, for I believe that is one of the prime reasons we are here. Come on now, let’s get creative, and add to the human joy pool!
1. Donate something to a charity, one that you empathise with. There are thousands to choose from, get excited about being one of the people who made a difference, however modest.
2. Give some of your time to doing something worthwhile for the benefit of your fellow humans, for no other reason than contributing service makes you feel more joyful! My favourites are Samaritans (telephone support to the emotionally distressed) and Crisis (volunteer services for the homeless). Doing something for kids and neighbourhoods is always worthwhile.
3. Smile at somebody and exchange friendly greetings when they serve you with your railway ticket or drive your taxi, especially when they got out of the wrong side of the bed and are grumpy.
4. Appreciate, and show more gratitude in your life. Look around you; this is a stunningly beautiful planet, if you have the eyes to see it. Be thankful for the senses you have been endowed with, that allow you to experience it.
5. Be wildly curious – find out why things are the way they are, and what you can learn from that. Adopt the attitude of a lifelong learner.
6. Be creative. We are here to create ourselves, in every moment, in every decision we make, in all our choices, in how we act, communicate, show up in the world. Come out of your shell and show the world what you are truly capable of!
I’d love to hear suggestions from you on what it is that makes you feel more joyful and how we can spread more joy around. Please don’t wait for everyone else to do it first. As Gandhi said: ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’

Written on 10/5/2009 by Paul Mallory. Paul is a volunteer for the Quality of Life Project. The website shares best practices on getting the most out of life from well know types like Richard Branson and Tom Skerritt to lesser known but equally interesting individuals. The mission of the organisation is to help people live more enjoyable, purposeful and contented lives. Paul also writes at

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Proactivity is Key to Fulfilment

Many of us are looking for more happiness and fulfilment in our lives, after all, there is often scope for improvement! We don't have to stoically accept whatever is thrown at us, and accept it as 'our lot in life'.

Making improvements requires proactivity. What does that mean? It means making our lives the way we want them to be, rather than accepting them the way they are.

Stephen Covey, who wrote 'the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People' says that proactivity begins with the mindset “I am responsible for me, and I can choose".

If we accept that whatever we experience, we created (whether consciously or unconsciously), then we can choose to experience something better.

Our next challenge is to make a few decisions around 'what would I prefer to experience, what do I choose?'. We need to visualise that better something, and get clarity about what we want from our lives, which requires us to make choices. The clearer the vision, the more laser-like our focus can be.

So start today by going for a long walk somewhere peaceful, pretending for a while that you dont have all these constraints that you tell yourself are holding you back, and picture your life as you intend for it to be from now on.

Good luck!

Are leaders born or made?

You know, debating whether leaders are born or made is a little bit like debating whether there is a God... depends what you mean by 'God'. I think we have to start by defining the notion of 'leader' we are holding in mind. For example, many of us when 'leader' is mentioned think Gandhi, Obama, JFK, or business leaders. I'd lke the expand the thought process a bit. If a great leader is someone who makes things happen, provides a great role model, causes other people to drop what they're doing and follow, we should think a little about the unsung quiet leaders in our midst. Maybe those who act out of principle, inspiration, higher purpose, voluntarily, rather than for bonuses. For me, those are the great leaders, people I aspire to be like. And I dont think you can categorise those people as either born or made, and training certainly didnt make the difference. How can we find our passion, our inspiration, our contribution? Then, we can't help but lead!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

TRUE Leadership

I was fortunate enough yesterday to hear for the first time Robert Kennedy's speech forty years ago (see, in which he questioned the way America measured progress and well-being.

It struck me as a fine example of the essence of great leadership. It was inspiring, all about the highest human values, and suggesting to people that maybe continual striving to accumulate more and more material wealth is not the whole answer to progress and well being.

If we accept for a moment that the highest values we can aspire to, and which are likely to deliver lives most worth living for ourselves and those around us, would include happiness, freedom and love, then we can begin to see that unfettered capitalism, rampant greed and a competitive/scarcity mindset may on occasion conflict with those highest values.

Now, we're not arguing here that poverty is good. The reverse is true, and wealth creation helps lift people out of poverty. What happiness studies have found, though, is that happiness is increased significantly for people who begin to earn until they get to £10,000 per year, then the happiness impact of adding to that diminishes. We just get used to a higher and higher standard of living and it becomes part of the fabric. We dont get happier.

Happiness comes from relationships, striving for worthwhile goals, making a contribution of service to others (just TRY a sample of voluntary work to find out what I mean, one selfless act).

Have a listen to Kennedy's speech. Forget politics, be human, focus on what's important to us all