Tuesday, 30 November 2010


I fell upon a wonderful quote from 'A Course in Miracles', though apparently is often misattributed to Nelson Mandela:

"Our worst fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God; your playing small doesn't serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone, and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Very cool.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Thank you for the days

Returning to my recent conversation with my friend and coaching subject, Kate, she came up with a very interesting conclusion. We talked about the fact that we, living where we are, having three-square meals a day and more, a decent disposal income, good health, great friends and exciting experiences, are extraordinarily lucky. Extraordinarily so really because we don’t have any divine right to such opportunities bestowed upon us in our lives. A different outcome of the throw of the celestial dice and we could have ended up in a slum in the poorest part of India, or could have been scavenging for food and shelter in sub-sarahan Africa.

We are very lucky. It’s that simple. And we should be grateful for it. And the way Kate viewed it was that not only should we be grateful for it and be willing to give back, we also owe it to those less fortunate to live our own lives more fully – otherwise we're just wasting the gift that we've been given. Obviously, we can always find something to moan or stress about in our day-to-day lives but in the bigger scheme of things we've got to honour and celebrate what we've got. Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Get up, stand up

I went on a public speaking course today. It was a refresher to one I attended about a year ago. The funny thing about it was that although I so often see myself as a poor presenter, it actually made me realise I'm not so bad after all. Don't get me wrong, I have my fair dose of nerves and jitters that we all get - everyone from President Obama all the way through to your best friend at a baby shower. But I'm finally mastering better ways to control the fears rather than letting the fears control me.

Interestingly enough, I was talking to one of the other attendees and she mentioned a friend of hers runs stand-up comedy workshops. It's an area I've never ever ever ever had any interest in at all but today for some reason it piqued my interest. In fact, it even energised me into thinking about it. Maybe I was just in that zone. I don't see myself as the funniest man in town. Far from. But if I were to do such a course I'm sure that would be a real step up in the public speaking stakes - if you can handle that you can handle anything.

The next workshop isn't until January and there's every chance that after a good night's sleep I'll have a dose of second thoughts. But at least, for now, it does make me wonder what any of us can discover if we dip our toes into those unchartered territories that have out of the blue made an impression on us.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Say, say, say

Every day we find ourselves having all kinds of conversations with all kinds of people. Sometimes they're deeply profound, sometimes they're pure templated small talk, sometimes they're just a shopping list of aches, pains and TV trivia. And a much of the time we're able to simply forget we've even had such conversations.

Well, the other day I bumped into a friend of mine, Kate. Some months ago I completed a part-time Executive Diploma in Corporate Coaching, and as part of my ongoing process of fine-tuning what I had learned I happily provided sessions for friends for a small fee of a glass of vino afterwards. "Wine 2 Whine" I called my sessions. Quite catchy I thought. Anyway, the last time I properly chatted with Kate was during one of these meet ups.

During our session we discussed a few work issues she had. The next day I got a polite thankyou email and we left it at that. So running into her at the weekend was quite refreshing when she said that something in our conversation had got her thinking a lot and she'd started to see and apply a few things differently. So much so that when she heard her brother was being overwhelmed by his own issues, she found a way to plant a similar idea in his mind to take action. He did. And he's much happier.

I'm not saying I've got all the answers, far from it, but Kate did find a grain of value in our discussion and paid it forward to her brother. It's true that our conversation was in the context of coaching, but in the bigger scheme of the world imagine what good could be done if we were all consciously offering a positive message that could be passed on to others.

Thursday, 4 November 2010


I was reading the other day about the demise of the Sony Walkman, the trailblazer for playing personalised portable music. When I was growing up I didn't really have the kind of funds to go as high-brow as that so I tended to end up with some cheap knock off from the local market that used four AA batteries rather than two - always a tell-tale sign. Back in the day, I used to religiously tape directly off the radio, trying to ensure that my 'mix tape' wasn't too badly interupted by commercials or inconsiderate DJs.

Well, a few weeks ago I was trawling through my brother's attic and I fell upon some of the tapes that I had put together all those years ago in the late 1980s or 1990s. It was a bit of jolt to the system. Did I really like some of that stuff? But it was songs and sounds that immediately and joyfully brought back memories that had been too easily buried beneath years of work, conformity and cynicism. Were they better days? Probably not. But it didn't really matter. The tapes threw into the mix so many vivid stories, good and less good. The fact that I was able to laugh at some of the more unfortunate memories just showed me that time really can be the great healer.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

What's the name of the game?

One thing that I know that definitely works for me is momentum. Throw in some energy and a bit of excitement and I’m away. Now, getting me to the start line, that’s been an issue. Inertia takes hold like a warm cosy blanket on a dark winter’s night. Why should I expend energy when this is so much easier? I'm so easily distracted.

Well, I’ve discovered that one thing I like is to play games. A kid at heart, that’s me. And with that in mind I’ve been trying to reframe a few things in my daily existence as a game or mini competition. And wham, bam it's got me engaged.

On a simple level I play my 10 minute rush around game. I get home from work and soon as I'm able I set the timer on my iPhone. I then rush around trying to "sort things out". It’s got harder the more I’ve done it, even more so since I have a cleaner. But it’s amazing what you find stored away that you have just shoved away and forgotten. It’s all part of the declutter process and it's actually quite exciting. I now set myself challenges and time trials for all sorts of things. It’s the first of a few ploys I’m looking to use to trick me out of my stupor. Game on.