Tag Archives | useful thinking


We may be pleased or sad when we move from one stage to another with something in our lives, but more often than not, we relegate the experience to the past. This is great, so long as we have taken the time to first appreciate what we have just been through.

Whether the experience was bad or good, we will have gained something from it. So to stop and ensure that we really recognise the ‘treasure’ we have gained from it is vital, if we are to be truly learning and growing in our lives.

Often in business, we try to rush people into the future, without giving them a chance to recognise the value of the past. I think we have a fear that they will get stuck in the nostalgia and resent the changes even more. Yet paradoxically, the reverse tends to be true. If you give people a chance to consider what they have gained from what is now passing out of their lives, it gives value to what they have done, and helps them to move on more naturally and more confidently.

It is a natural process, just like the leaves on the bulbs dying back to feed the bulb ready for a new flowering next year.

So encourage your teams to gather the treasures from their past, as they move into new phases, and ensure that you do the same for yourself.


  1. Think of a phase in your life that has now passed. Spend a few moments recognising what you gained from that phase of your life
  2. Next time you are working with your team on something that is new for them, spend a little time at the beginning getting them to recognise how what they are now leaving behind has been valuable for them.


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You know what I mean – the one who won’t participate, who doesn’t want to be there..

We all have these sometimes, when we’re working with groups. And it is easy to take them at face value, and hope you can get away with either ignoring or containing them.

But I was reminded again this week of how important it is to go behind that behaviour, and remember the human being. We had someone who really didn’t want to be there – it was irrelevant to her, and a waste of time, she said.

And we listened, and realised that it was driven by a frustration of long standing – she had expressed her ideas for improvement before, but no-one had ever taken them seriously. As it happened, we had senior managers coming to hear this group’s views. She was encouraged to speak out, and once the bit of moaning had gone through without rejection, she began to speak passionately and articulately about her plea for being treated as a sensible, committed grown-up. It was moving and powerful, and we know that, this time, something will happen as a result.

She could so easily have been sidelined. Thank God, we remembered that awkwardness is a symptom not a cause!


  1. Next time you have an awkward one, just take a little time to listen and find out what’s really going on.
  2. And when you feel like being awkward yourself, in meetings you attend, experiment with tracing it back and explicitly stating what’s really going on with you.


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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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The sun is shining this morning as I write this, and if I were a child, I would know that it was a wonderful day.

Yet as an adult, my view of the moment is coloured by all the other things I am told about how the world is working, through the news, magazines etc. so rather than celebrate the glorious day, I can easily get caught up in the difficulties and doom and gloom and forget to just live today.

Who has it right??

It seems that we normally need a life threatening event to wake us up to the beauty of the moment by moment of life, but there is no rule that I know of that says that we have to wait for something traumatic to be able to really appreciate and delight in being alive.

When I was little, I went to Sunday school, and I can still remember being told that I should count my blessings each day. What a lovely concept! And over the years, I have come to understand how useful that can be. We always have a choice: to moan about all the things that are wring, for us personally and in the world in general, or to count our blessings. Which makes me feel better? Which makes me more able to handle whatever comes my way? The answer seems so obvious!

I went to see Bruce Springsteen perform this week. I had a bad back, and could have made it worse by standing in a stadium with thousands of others. But I knew better. I knew that there are few better cures for feeling miserable than to go and be inspired by the sheer joie de vivre of this performer! For three hours, I danced, sung and laughed with delight, as he took us on a journey of celebrating being alive.

As Bruce would say: ‘ How can we get this thing started? Let’s have a party!’ So come on, count your blessings and celebrate being alive!


  1. Stop for a moment and count your blessings today
  2. Find four things to delight in today
  3. Give yourself a present today
  4. Do this every day for a month, no matter what is going on in your life


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This month’s workshop is about taking stock. I don’t know about you, but I am very good at reviewing, targets, goals, objectives and ultimately my work plan. It’s a necessary process and what I have found over the past couple of years is that my tendency can often be to notice what was missing last year, and what do I need to change to make it better.
I often find it to be a bit of challenge, and what gets lost is what I did actually accomplish.
So this workshop is focused on taking stock with inspiration, doing the same process but actually really seeing and owning what I have achieved, so that I can walk away with a real sense of purpose and renewed enthusiasm.
I suggest taking a blank sheet of paper or a notebook to write down any insights or thoughts that occur to you as you complete these exercises. Have fun!!!
1. List out the areas in your work that are the most important to you. (for example, financial success, relationships, contribution, etc.,)
Take this list and prioritise it.
2. Spend a few moments and write down 3 accomplishments in each area, and be specific. An accomplishment is something that you know for you or another person made a difference. It does not need to be a big thing, it just needs to be important to you.
3. Ok now the fun part… tell at least 1 person about them. This is very important, why? because we all deep down love to be recognised and to know that what we do makes a difference. Actually telling another person allows you to really own it.
4. Now review your list and assess what do I want to keep doing, what do I want to take out and what can I replace it with.
5. Complete the process by writing down 1 specific goal and 1 specific accomplishment for each area that you identified in step 1.
Make sure that you share these with at least 1 other person.
Review the list every 6- 8 weeks to check your progress.

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Do you ever worry about not having enough money?  For living, for that holiday, for retirement ……  I know, I can sometimes get caught in the scarcity fears – by the way, if you don’t, please let us know your “secret”?!!

Yet I know that when I think poor, I am poor, and when I think abundance, I notice abundance.  Does this make any sense to you?

We are taught to regard money as the means of being wealthy in our culture, and also to always feel as if we don’t have enough.

Yet we live in an abundant world, where happiness comes from snowdrops flowering, not from money in the bank.  Snowdrops herald the arrival of Spring, first signs of new growth. Money in the bank causes us anxiety, as interest rates go down and it loses value even when we have it.

What would happen if we decided to be rich and enjoy the abundance of the world, instead of worrying about money?  Maybe then it would be put back into perspective.  It’s one of many forms of energy that we can share in.  Perhaps if we paid attention to some of the others, we would reduce the fear, and allow the money we need to come our way!

Just as the fear of losing a relationship can often be enough to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, perhaps the fear of not having enough money is the reason why so many of us seem to not have enough!

Why not experiment with putting money worries to one side for a month and instead enjoy the abundance of new growth in Spring, laughter with friends and the exuberance of children?

Homework :

  1. Buy yourself a small present to make you smile, no matter how poor you feel this month.
  2. Notice what makes you happy that doesn’t require money.
  3. Bless what money you do have and then give a little of it away!


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When was the last time you felt really good about yourself? It is so easy to be self-damning, and so much harder to be self-congratulatory! And somehow in our culture we think that it is a good thing to run ourselves down. I can remember as a small child being told that just because I was a good speller didn’t mean that I should get bigheaded – but I wasn’t! I was just proud of my ability to spell…

Those who make the best of themselves know intuitively that they need to build on their strengths to get even better. They notice their own good points, and see how they can use these to enhance their not so good points. Just as we all thrive on positive feedback from others, we also thrive on positive feedback from ourselves!

So this month, why don’t you start giving yourself some feedback!


  1. List 10 things you are really good at. It doesn’t matter what they are – work-related or personal
  2. Each day notice 1 thing you do well and remind yourself of how you did it
  3. When someone thanks you for something, or gives you positive feedback, don’t dismiss it – say thank you and revel in it!
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Inside Out

Have you noticed how your mood and state always seem to be how the world is at that time? When we feel good, the world seems full of good news and friendly people; when we feel down, there is always more to be gloomy about!

This is no accident of fate. It is about what we are using to filter the possible information around us. When I feel low, I have on the ‘reasons to feel low’ filter, so I notice lots of them.

It makes sense, therefore, to always work ‘inside out’. That means I work on me first, then start looking outwards. If I can change my mood, I will change what I notice, and will be able to have a more positive impact.


  1. Notice how the world reflects your mood.
  2. Give yourself treats to make you feel good, and notice how the world also feels easier to handle.


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Being Doing Having

Don’t we all say, sometimes: ‘If only I could win the lottery, then I could go on lots of holidays (or whatever our own dream is) and I would be happy.  Yet every ancient philosophy in the world tells us that it actually works the other way round …. ‘If I choose to be happy, then I do things differently, and I can have anything I want’.

This is very challenging for our minds, which have been trained in the western culture of striving to attain.  We almost want to make it impossible to achieve our dreams, because that proves that we were right – only the lucky ones can do that, and they are very few.

Yet at a gut instinct level, we all know that when we are feeling good, we respond to things differently, and the world seems to work better for us.  It seems worth experimenting with, since we are, most of us, not about to win the lottery!  What would happen if you decided to be happy today?

Homework :

  1. Choose to be happy today, and just notice what happens.
  2. Act as if everything is working well for you for a day, and notice what happens.
  3. At least, practise smiling for a day, and notice what happens!
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Are You Spiritually Intelligent?

It sounds so high and mighty, doesn’t it – spiritual intelligence..  I know that when I first came across the phrase, I thought that it would be something to do with being saintly and I knew that I would never match up!

Yet actually, it is more to do with being in touch with your heart and living your life to the full. Characteristics of those who have developed their spiritual intelligence are such things as enthusiasm, energy, cheerfulness, persistence, peacefulness and compassion. They are not a million miles away from being a reasonable human being who hasn’t lost all their delightful childlike attributes.

My mother-in law was a prime example of this, although she wouldn’t claim it for herself. Whatever happened, her attitude was ‘oh well, I expect it will work out for the best’ and her only concern was that no-one should be hurt by it. At 82, she delighted in riding her bicycle, going to her clubs, being in her garden, watching the snooker on tv and receiving presents on her birthday – see what I mean about childlike?

We all have these attributes in us – we were born with them. So how are you demonstrating your spiritual intelligence?


  1. Find 3 things each day to be grateful for
  2. Enjoy and use your sense of humour
  3. Find 5 minutes to be peacefully quiet for the next few weeks


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