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Living The Dream

There are so many reasons why we can’t live our dreams, aren’t there! I am too old, too young, have too many responsibilities, haven’t got enough money, – we can always think of lots of good reasons… Somehow we create these lists so much more easily than the list of reasons why we should go for our dream now, rather than waiting, or even not doing it at all.

How sad! We have been well trained by our culture to believe that dreams are something that most people cannot fulfil, and we end up accepting with resignation that we are one of the ‘most people’.

Over the last month or so, I have been prompted to bring one of my dreams closer to reality, and to begin the process of making it happen. I had fallen into the trap of ‘knowing’ that I had to wait for an unspecified while longer, before I could have my dream, and therefore doing nothing about it, rather than looking to see what was really possible now, and at least starting the movement towards it.

Going for my dream may like life a little more complicated for a while, and at the same time, it has given me a new impetus and enthusiasm which will help me to both take some steps towards the dream and do what I already do as well as I can.

So I thought it might be useful to just remind ourselves of some of the elements that make it possible to go for living the dream.

  1. Clarify the dream, and if it really doesn’t seem possible immediately, clarify some steps towards it that you could bring into your life.
  2. Put that dream into language that says it will happen, rather than I might, e.g. ‘I am going to…’ rather than ‘I would like to…’.
  3. Find one small step you can take that would tell you that you are taking your dream seriously. It may be researching something to do with your dream, so that it is no longer just a fantasy, or beginning something that will take a while to come to fruition.
  4. Put aside a short period of time each week to devote to your dream – whatever seems manageable, so long as it is at least an hour.
  5. Find some allies, people, books, films, anything that will encourage you when you get a bit stuck.
  6. Take small steps to make it real, and praise yourself every time you do – and use your allies to support you in that praise.

Your dream doesn’t have to be ‘grand’ – it may be just to improve some element of your present life to the point where it really makes you happy. It is amazing what is possible once we begin the journey, and how much more energised we feel when we are doing something about really living our lives as we want to, rather than putting up with our lives as they are.

Whatever your dream is, do start living it now!


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The Rhythm of Life

We all know that we have a natural rhythm – no, I don’t mean your ability to dance! – I mean the rhythm of our energy levels. Some of us are full of energy first thing in the morning, some of us last thing at night, and all of us tend to go up and down during the day in different ways. We know this because if we stop for a moment and reflect on how we are feeling, we will notice that we are sluggish or energised, blurry or focused – you know what I mean..

What is sad is that we are not taught to work with our natural rhythms – in fact the opposite is true for most of us. We are taught to ignore them. Yet if we want to be excellent, our ability to manage our energy is paramount.

We have four types of energy – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Each type need scaring for, and to be given a chance to refresh.

  • If I have sat still for a while, I need to move my body, feed it, and revitalise my physical energy.
  • If I have been concentrating on something mentally, I need to give my mind a rest, by doing something ‘mindless’ or enjoyable  with my mind – or even switching to another form of activity – that walk we need regularly.
  • If I have been engaged in something that is emotionally draining – even if it is a positive form of draining, I need to do something that just gives me joy for a while, without any effort on my part
  • And every so often, I need to make sure that I feel that what I am doing is purposeful and worthwhile, to refresh my spiritual energy – and if it doesn’t feel that way, I need to find ways of feeling that – by switching what I am doing, on a macro- or micro-level.

Scientists have researched our energy levels and what affects them in considerable depth. There is a consensus of opinion that we need to recharge our physical, mental and emotional levels of energy every 1.5 to 2 hours.  How many of us do that? And without the feeling of purposefulness, all of us sink into a dreary view of everything we do – the daily drudgery..

It doesn’t take long to recharge, and as those of you who have been on programmes with us will know, there are many techniques you can use to help you. Without the recharging, we become automatons, and never fulfil our potential. What a waste!

So just stop and reflect on how you can keep yourself charged, and allow yourself to be at your best this month – you will gain from it, and so will the world!


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There is a basic tenet in Eastern Philosophies around being in the present moment.  And we can believe we are living to this when we caught up in our everyday stuff.  Yet there is an important distinction we need to be aware of.

When we are “caught up” in the everyday, we are on automatic, following historical habits of reaction, or thinking.  We are doing the moment, not being in the moment.

When we are truly here now, it is a spacious place, full of possibility.  We have choices about how we react, how we proceed, what we do next, how we think about things.

This is when everything is open to possibility.  Instead of saying “this must come next,” we can say, “what shall I do next?”  Instead of saying,”It’s obvious,” we can say, “what are the possibilities?”

This spaciousness of the moment offers us several very valuable gifts.

  • A release from habitual thinking and doing
  • A break from historical assumptions
  • A sense of controlling our own destiny
  • A broader view of our future

We can apply it to “big stuff” – times of transition in our lives, and we can also get the habit of taking that break by applying it to the “small stuff”- the rush into the next task on the list, the move from duties at work to duties at home.  It takes us a breathspace to move into being in the moment, and a breathspace to recognise we have choices, and one more breathspace to make a choice that is more comfortable and uses possibility instead of necessity as the driver.

Can you spare 3 breathspaces once in  a while in your busy life, to enhance your possibilities? Have a go, and see how much richer life can be, with such a simple application of being in the moment!!


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What Matters

It is so easy to get worked up about the little things in life – the weather, lost keys etc. I know that I can drive myself to distraction at times over the petty irritations of life! Yet in the overall scheme of things, a lost key is replaceable, the weather will be different tomorrow…

So much more important in our lives are things like the love we give to and receive from family and friends, how healthy we feel, how much happiness and enjoyment we can find in our everyday lives.

And these things are much more within our control. We can choose to give love, we can take good care of ourselves to optimise our health, and we can create happiness and enjoyment out of the simple pleasures of being alive.

So ask yourself today: ‘How am I enhancing the things that really matter in my life?’, and use your response to the question to prompt you to pay attention to the things that really matter!

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It is easy to be an inspiring leader, full of enthusiasm, when things are going right. It is when things start to go wrong that our true mettle shows through..

When we work with leaders, we find that they really understand the principles of leadership, and have a genuine desire to put them into practice. Yet they slip back into old habits of control and blame when things get tough, back in the workplace.

Why does this happen? Two reasons:

  1. We have all been well trained in the old habits, so they are your default position,. When we have time to think, we can switch on a different behaviour, but when the pressure is on, we have an automatic response.
  2. Other people expect us to behave as we always have done. Even if it is not particularly constructive behaviour, they at least know how to react if we do what we have always done. So if we step out of that, they often try to push us back into the familiar.

So how do we change our habits?

The easiest way to change a habitual behaviour is to consciously practise at regular intervals. So if you say to yourself that this morning is going to be my time for being the excellent leader I know I can be, and set yourself a time limit, it begins to get into the muscle. Don’t make the time too long – then it begins to get strenuous, just like when you take up a new form of exercise, and you will get disheartened.

There is one caution to this – sometimes we slip even when we have made a conscious decision not to, and then we tend to beat ourselves up for it even more than usual! This is not at all helpful, because the way our brain works is that every time we go through an experience again in our memory, we are rehearsing to do the same thing again, so reliving the not so useful behaviour is a great way to train yourself to do it again next time! Instead, just recognise that your behaviour was not what you intended, and run through the scenario as you would have liked to play it. This is excellent training for handling it better next time.

It also really helps if you can find a mentor – someone whom you respect and trust, who is further along on the path to being an excellent leader. Such a person provides the encouragement, advice and support that can make it so much easier to grow yourself.

Most of us don’t suddenly turn into excellent leaders overnight – it takes practice. Go gently with yourself, gradually introducing more and more of the behaviours you want to demonstrate and you will be surprised by how the ‘new you’ begins to grow!


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I am suffering from a bad back, and have been literally handicapped in carrying on with my ordinary life. I can’t lift anything, walk properly, stand up and sit down easily, and it has really made me realise how many good things we take for granted in our lives.

There are many simple everyday things that we don’t even think about, like being able to get a drink when we want one, being able to nip to the shops when we run out of something, having friends we can contact by phone. Can you imagine your life without these abilities?

And in attempting to stay independent, I have probably made my problem worse, when in fact there were lots of people willing to help, if only I had asked earlier.

I have been reminded that there are more important things than those we often wish we had, or those which we feel driven to achieve. And I have been reminded that people will help if they can, and we don’t have to try and manage on our own. And I thought I would pass the reminders on!

So during today, just notice:

  • All the things you can do for yourself and be independent in
  • All the things you have available to you that a refugee in a camp would be delighted by
  • All the people who are friendly towards you and willing to help, should you need it

And notice what frustrates you, what irritates you and what is driving you. Are they really so important?

Life isn’t usually an emergency, and when we appreciate what we do have, maybe the rest of it will stay more in perspective!


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I listened the other day to someone explaining why there was no point in being honest about why they hadn’t been at work the previous day. ‘My boss claims he is in a meeting in London when he wants to go and play golf, so why should I say that my wife was ill? I will pretend it was me who had a virus.’

This man had not done anything wrong in taking time off to care for his wife, yet he preferred to maintain the standards of his workplace and cover up with a story.

It made me think about the power of the example the leader sets for his or her team. We all, as leaders, sometimes fail to set the best of examples. I know that I have been guilty of the ‘do as I say not as I do’ syndrome at times. Nonetheless, we need to be really conscious of how powerful we are in determining how others around us behave.

It is worth spending a little time thinking about what example you would prefer to give to others:

  • Are you true to your values, or do you compromise them?
  • Do you bring your human beingness into the workplace or act as if you are a robot when you are at work?
  • Do you ensure that you are in a good state – enough food, sleep, time off – or do you stretch yourself to your absolute limits, and then perform less than well?
  • Do you pay attention to people when they talk to you or wonder how long it will be before you can escape?
  • Do you keep people informed of what is happening or use the information you have as power over others?
  • Do you take risks or always play it safe?
  • Do you admit when you are wrong or try to cover it up?

Of course, this list could go on and on, but this will give you a starting point to consider!

Everyone is affected by their leader. He or she sets the tone for the department or organisation, whether they like it or not. We spend a lot of time in different companies, and we know what the boss is like before we even meet them. We just have to watch how the team behave! Whatever you tell them to do, they will do what you do, so make sure you get what you want from them by being like it yourself.

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At Meta we are committed to running and helping you run your business with integrity. A business built on the core principles of integrity is a business that has a recipe for success.

So often we hear the word integrity, but what do we mean when we speak about integrity?  What pops to mind for most people are the words honesty and truth, and most definitely they are a very core part of integrity.  But it is also interesting to consider that what makes integrity so powerful in our lives and our businesses is that integrity is also about reliability. So I would invite you to consider that:

  • Integrity is about doing what you promised to do,
  • when you promised to do it – no exceptions
  • Integrity is about not making excuses for promises broken
  • Integrity is about taking responsibility and owning up to others when we have gone back on what we said we would do
  • Integrity is about being honest and truthful even when that’s not popular or comfortable

We can be out of integrity with others, but just as much with ourselves. I know the numerous times I have promised to do something good for myself, and I don’t. Consider for a moment: if we can’t keep our promises to ourselves, how can we do it with others…??

I have found that when I restore my integrity and follow through on my promises to myself and others, I have a sense of freedom and openness that was not there before. All I am doing is acknowledging that this is important to me and I am re-choosing to do it.  If I have a promise to someone else that I have not made good on, then I communicate that to that person, honestly, and make sure that, from that point on, I follow through on my word.

Our lives flourish when we live from a place of integrity,  so why not make it easier on yourself and others, keep your promises, it enables you and others the freedom to be the best that you and they can be.

1. List the areas of your life where you have some broken promises, or promises not fulfilled- be honest, but don’t beat yourself up, you are just taking a look.
2. Now go through your list and choose the top three promises that would be most beneficial for you to restore, either a promise to yourself or to others.  If you have more than 3 on your list, make a promise to yourself to keep going back to your list.
3. Continue to notice where in your life you are in integrity and where not, and decide to act out of integrity, and see what happens.


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It’s so easy to be hard on ourselves! We have all been well-trained in being critical, and we are great at turning that ability on ourselves. So we notice what we haven’t done rather than what we have done in a day, or we beat ourselves up for saying the wrong thing instead of remembering how often we say the right thing.

I bet you not only criticise yourself, you also sometimes reject praise or compliments by running yourself down! I know I can say things like, ‘ Oh it’s really someone else’s idea’, or ‘ no, I don’t look good today – your eyesight is obviously not as good as it was!’ This is not just insulting to the complimenter, it is also a less than useful message to yourself.

All this is telling ourselves that we are no good, and that is a lousy message to give anyone! So I want you to consider another possibility. Just for a while, imagine that you are your best friend. I bet the description of you would be different if they gave it! Friends are kinder to us than we are to ourselves, and they set us a good example of how we deserve to be treated. When we are treated kindly, we don’t get arrogant, we get even nicer! It reminds us of us at our best, and helps us to be like that more often.

So why not decide to be your own best friend for the rest of the month?


  1. Spend a few minutes describing your characteristics as if you were your own best friend.
  2. At the end of each day, find something to praise yourself about
  3. Next time you criticise yourself, remind yourself to be kind to you!
  4. Dare to give yourself a present for being such a lovely person!


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When I was at University, doing my Contemporary Arts BA Degree, we were exposed to many different ways of expressing yourself. We were shown many different ways to access our creativity. One such tool we were given was freeform writing. Freeform writing has many names; Creative Writing, Free Writing, Spontaneous Writing, Speed Writing. Its name has many variations, but it is essentially the same – writing without thinking about it.

The idea is that you just put pen to paper and begin to write, not editing any of what you put down, just allowing to flow and ebb as your thoughts flow and ebb. It is a great way to get stuff out of your head and a great way to brainstorm ideas, by allowing them free expression. To further the brainstorming idea, why not select a topic and Freeform write on that topic?

When you have a creative block, sometimes this can be a useful tool to help vent some of the frustration and work past the block, by accessing not only your conscious but unconscious creativity too. Freeform writing every morning as soon as you wake up can be a good way to access the creative visions of your dreams..

Not only is freeform writing useful for creativity, but I find it incredibly useful for emptying the mind of unwanted thoughts. In fact this is where I use this process most! When you are having difficulty sleeping or you have many negative thoughts in your head that are getting you down, just let rip on a piece of paper, just get all the nasty stuff out! Once you feel that you have emptied your brain of all the ‘stuff’ then throw the paper away, and hopefully you’ll feel a little better and sleep more peacefully!


Try your hand at freeform writing

  1. Always have a little notepad with you – to capture starting points for freeform writing
  2. Using these starting topics spend two full minutes writing everything you can about the topic – don’t edit anything, if your hand stops writing, stop and try another topic
  3. Keep a notepad by your bed – to capture the weird and wild creativity of your dreams, just 3 minutes as you wake up each day
  4. Spend 10 minutes a week just writing anything down that comes into your head – don’t edit it! Just allow it to flow, it may well look like nonsense but in it could be some gems of creative wisdom!
  5. When you are experiencing a creative block – use freeform writing to write out all the angst and maybe tap into some unconscious creativity!
  6. When you are emotionally low, or your head is just full of ‘stuff’, maybe you have difficulty sleeping – use freeform writing to clear your head, write it all down, then throw it away, don’t re-read it or it will start you off thinking again!


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