Friday, 12 August 2011

Do You Have The Courage To Be Who You Are Meant To Be?

Before I decided to use this title for my blog, my mind was flitting back and forth, somewhere between ‘What do I want to write about?’ to ‘Nah, I’m not really in the mood to write about anything.’ Then, as I was making the bed, (one of my morning rituals) I thought, ‘Am I being who I’m meant to be?’ Having given the question some thought, I’m inclined to say, ‘maybe.’ However, my hope is that after I’ve written this blog, I’ll be closer to knowing... My other hope is, that you, the reader, will be closer to knowing who you are meant to be. Or perhaps be more inquisitive.

Over the last 25 years, much of my life has been spent in the self-development arena, which has included spirituality, psychology and the science behind happiness and well-being. I continue to read any book that’s likely to help me to help others, and by so doing, almost by osmosis, be of benefit to me too. In addition, I’ve picked up numerous tools, through attending seminars, workshops, and various one-one-one coaching and therapy sessions. I can say, through these numerous modalities, I do know myself better. Can I say that I now know who I am meant to be? Well, the honest answer continues to be maybe...

Like numerous people I continue to meet, work with and read about, my childhood was not exactly perfect by any means. And yes, like others, I like to think I’ve been able to move on. However, it would be churlish of me to just cast the experience aside, as you might a worn out dishcloth. Self refection is an essential part of being who we are meant to be. And the main reason for this is to know oneself better: Getting to grips with lingering emotional stuff that’s best left to the past; yet emerges when we least expect it to, is freeing. That’s because we can then give ourselves a break from conditioning, upbringing, history and perhaps some false beliefs.

We can only truly discover who we truly are by delving into who we want to be. And when we do this, initially, we must be prepared to experience more questions than answers. It’s the questions that will propel you toward becoming who you truly are. Think of yourself as an investigative reporter who’s been charged with discovering where the truth lies in a matter of human frailty and misunderstandings. This attitude will enable you to distance yourself emotionally from your feelings and fears. Discovering our true identity is as worthy as it is to discovering a new medical cure. It will change your life, as you now know it, forever. I know that some people have no desire to delve into their lives in the way I’m describing. When I hear that, I think about courage and curiosity.

Our courage, curiosity and desire to improve our life, needs to be ego-free and open to new thoughts. We will also be helped if we are prepared to take risks, make mistakes, experience change and welcome the newness that will come with these experiences. Getting to know who we really are is the one experience in our lives that is unique to us. And while we are in discovery-mode, as if by osmosis, a truer, more authentic version of the person we are meant to be emerges. So, if this is an area of your development you intend to explore, my advice is to be patient, self-caring, be brave and take risks. Know that you’ll make mistakes, and that they will guide you to being a version of you that you will find fulfilling, and will give you more purpose in your life.

Monday, 2 May 2011

This blog was inspired by my recent Personal Branding workshop in London. Each of the attendees were open, receptive and desirous to know how they could further develop their Personal Brand.

I began by explaining that each of us has a Personal Brand. In essence, it’s what others say about us when we are not in the room – our reputation. And in order to be in more control of our reputation, largely, will depend on our attitude, behaviour and the way we communicate. In addition, our listening skills, ability to engage and build rapport are paramount.

By asking 'good questions', we are able to engage with greater expedience and to connect to others. By showing genuine interest in the other person, by default, we come across as more interesting. Generally, people love it when we remember something relevant about them, it often surprises them. And if this is in a business context, it doesn’t have to be about business! This is a delicate balance: not too personal, but always personable.

In order for our brand to have greater influence, particularly in these challenging times, people want us to be authentic. The word authenticity can mean many things, including ‘genuine’, or ‘real.’ The dictionary’s meaning I’m attaching to the word is undisputed credibility. And to be known as someone who has undisputed credibility; of course, you have to know your stuff.

We've all met people who are deeply experienced, and know their subject inside out. However, when it comes to communicating what they know to others, they often fall short. That's because to be able to communicate your experience and knowledge, entails courage, self belief and being true to who you are. Also, it's important that you firmly believe that your knowledge/experience is something that will benefit others.

Here, it helps to have emotional resilience - an ability to bounce back. This one characteristic sends a very posiitve message to one and all. As if by osmosis, it sows the seed of optimism, enthusiasm, passion and self-belief within us. And in many ways, when those qualities are in place, getting our message across becomes far easier. Moreover, we gain more meaning in our life, because we know we are bringing more meaning to the lives of others.

I do believe my workshops encourage, support and enable people to leave the event inspired and motivated to take actions that otherwise might not have occcurred to them. My next workshop is on June 28. If you would like more information, please contact me at:

Friday, 4 March 2011

This blog was inspired by a follow-up note I sent to delegates who attended a recent Personal Branding Workshop that Jorgen Sundberg and I co-presented. The follow-up note is intended to act as both a reminder of the day, and a pointer to aspects of the event that I felt touched upon universal themes.

The Personal Branding workshop was as inspiring for Jorgen and me as it was for the attendees who uniformly provided us with top-notch feedback. In addition to Jorgen, who spoke about Personal Branding as it relates to social media and I, who spoke about one’s Inner and Outer Brand, there were three experts, each of whom proved to be congruent with our overall message about Personal Branding.

For our next event on April 6, we've invited two speakers. Susan Heaton Wright is an accomplished voice-coach, whose approach aligns with the acclaimed voice coach and author of “Presence”, Patsy Rondenberg. In addition, Bob Jacobs, an alternative health practitioner who was voted by Tatler magazine as ‘One of Britain’s Top 250 Private Doctors’, will talk to us about how we can increase our energy levels by making better health choices.

Below are aspects of the last workshop that I hope you’ll find both interesting and helpful. At the beginning of the event, each of the attendees voiced their desired outcome for the day. They included:

- Life direction clarity

A nudge in the right direction

Understanding their own brand

Understanding reputation


Each of these required outcomes are up to us to manifest in our lives. And as I mentioned on the day, being a positive role model, conveying an attitude that focuses on solutions, using humility and optimism, will, almost by osmosis, help one to achieve the outcomes above.

Also, appropriately placed and ‘well delivered’ humour, combined with excellent listening skills and empathy are key to gaining a stellar reputation. And when we combine these characteristics with knowing how to ask a ‘good’ question (a good question is one that shows interest in others) we are perceived as a positive role model - someone worth following.

I talked a little about intuition, or, as I refer to it, in-tuition. Over the years I’ve met, interviewed and coached many highly successful leaders, and they’ve all told me that they use their in-tuition when making decisions that for some, need more research, explanation or evidence. I’m not suggesting that one bases all decisions on gut feelings - I am saying acknowledge those feelings, and when they are strong, feel grounded and have a quiet certainty about them, take note.

Lastly, I’d like to touch upon letting go. In essence, letting go is a helpful strategy to advance career prospects, often in unexpected ways. That’s because when we are too attached to a specific outcome we prevent the possibility of a different outcome, one that is often better all round. In short, train yourself to be flexible and nimble. This is something that I firmly believe is worth considering.

Here's the information about our next workshop:

Monday, 24 January 2011

So little time, so many books to read...

Or, perhaps we don’t give enough time to reading the kinds of books that have the power to transform, inspire, and help us to change us for the better. At a very early age, my curiosity about how I could live a more ‘meaningful life’ was insatiable. And because I didn’t have the wherewithal to articulate my feelings, I’d say things like, ‘Why are we here?’, or, ‘Is this it?’ Most of my friends thought I was weird, to my relatives I could have been speaking a foreign language.

Fast-forward to my early thirties when my interest in self-development became heightened. Whilst attending a personal growth seminar, someone suggested I read “The Road Less Travelled.” This was my first foray into the world of reading books that have enabled me to experience my life through an alternative lens, I might add a lens with a far richer view-finder than I could have ever hoped for, or imagined.

When people I don’t know well ask me to recommend a book, I’m often reticent to do so. For me, it’s like recommending a piece of art, or a movie I enjoyed. I’m not entirely comfortable assuming that something that personally resonated with me will do so for someone else. And although I’ve read numerous personal development books, self-help books, books that tell a fictional story that turn out have life affirming parables, knowing which one might best suit another person just seems too assumptive.

In my attempt to share some of my reading with a wider audience, I’ve compiled a partial list of books that have contributed to my own development, and my desire for continued personal growth. You might notice the omission of “The Road Less Travelled” - It’s many years since I read this book, and I’m uncertain as to whether it will have the same relevance today as it had all those years ago. It’s probably time to read it again...
Here's my partial list:

One Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl: A remarkable true story of one man’s courage, emotional resilience and determination to survive.

Feel the Fear And Do It Anyway, by Susan Jeffers: This book has been in print for over twenty years, and it’s as relevant today as it was when first published.

Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell: This book gives credence to the power of intuition. Gladwell is a gifted writer, he grounds a subject that some in the business world consider to be a bit ‘flaky.’

The Power of Nice – How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness, by Linda Kaplan & Robin Thaler: A great, short, easy-to-read book by two women who run one of the top advertising agencies in New York.

Nudge – Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein: A book that anyone in business will find helpful and enlightening. It will change the way you think about you and the world in which you live.

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, by Robin Sharma: A story that helps us all better understand what’s important in our lives. Sharma tell his story with compassion and a deep knowledge of the human condition.

Loving What Is, by Byron Katie: A book by a writer whose life-changing event has touched the lives of many who’ve read her books.

A New World, by Eckhart Tolle: A book that asks us to question ourselves, and to reflect on whether we are living our best life.

On Writing, by Stephen King: If you enjoy writing, this is the book for you. And if you don’t write, you will be inspired by Mr. King’s extraordinary life story, his rise to fame and the unflinching support of his wife.

Flow – The classic work on how to achieve happiness, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: A book that helps us understand how each of us can be happy by following the simple, straightforward advice of the author.

Working with Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman: Goleman brought attention to the area of EQ about 18 years ago; he’s considered to be one of the experts in the field.