Monday, 24 September 2007

Times of Change - Raising a Superstar

I’ve recently been inspired by the book “Raising a Superstar” by Terri Khonsari whom I met in the summer not knowing that she was about to publish her book.

Terri gives some solid, practical advice on how to raise a superstar child, having faced many challenges in her own life during the process of raising her very own superstar, Nilou.

Reading the book led me to ask myself questions about how we’ve raised our own children, especially my daughter, who at 15 years old is going through the usual tremendous amount of physical and emotional change. The boys are now all grown up, left home and got their own children, partners, careers and adult lives. Charlotte on the other hand, is still on her journey to adulthood.

I question where we went right and where we could have done better. Did we give too much and rob her of her independence or did we give too little and make her too independent? Could we have been more active in her education, teaching her about money, giving to other people, health, spirituality and so on? How will she fare in the big wide world once she has decided to leave the coup and fly?

For my part, one thing I know for sure is that we always do the best we can with the skills, knowledge and experience that we have at any given time. It continues to be our responsibility however, to build and develop our skills and knowledge and use that to support our children as they grow and continue their own development. That’s why I recommend this book wholeheartedly to help you support your children to be who they really are and raise your very own superstar!

To get the book now click on the link below:

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Feeling the fear and doing it anyway

How many times do we avoid doing something because we have decided that we will fail before we have even tried? How many times do we create a predetermined result before we can possibly know what that result will be? How many times have we missed out because we chose not face our fear?

In the early years of my career I worked with children who had learning disabilities combined with what we called “severe behaviour problems”. That is to say, they had learned to respond to the world through “unacceptable social behaviour”. Some were violent, to themselves or others; some would tantrum, scream, shout, spit, vomit and so on. In all cases the behaviour would show up because they had been unable to communicate what they wanted effectively enough to get the result they desired.

We often created situations for these children that would help develop their experiences of the world. For example, we would take them on adventure trips where they would abseil, climb rocks, canoe, go potholing and the like.

On one of these trips we had been taken by our instructors to a beautiful little village in the Lake District of NW England, where the locals and visiting adventurers alike would jump off the bridge into the river some 60 or 70 feet below. The children in our charge ate their picnic lunch on the river bank below watching the continuous activity of a steady stream of people jumping off the bridge with a wild scream, plunging into the water and disappearing for several seconds before emerging with laughter and shouts of delight at their achievement.

Inspired by the excitement I decided I wanted to have a go at this and overcome my “fear” of heights once and for all and experience the amazing fun these people were apparently having. No sooner than I had said it, one of the instructors took me up to the bridge, jumped off and then waited for me to follow.

I stood on the wall of that bridge for over 45 minutes playing it over in mind, anticipating all the things that would go wrong; landing badly, hurting my feet as I hit the water, crashing against an unseen rock, not coming back up out of the water. I also began to anticipate the embarrassment of not doing it, not going through with my commitment, being laughed at and ridiculed. I told myself, 1-2-3 jump. No, in a minute. 1-2-3 jump. No, I can’t do it. 1-2-3 and now, jump! No, I’m scared. And so it went on until finally the instructors, all of whom were desperately encouraging me said “look, we’ve got to go now so jump or get down”. I got down.

It took me another 20 years to face that fear, when I finally did jump. The opportunity replayed in a different way with a skydive. Jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft at 13,000 feet seemed like a great way to finally overcome this fear that I had told myself I had had all my life. The difference with this, as the instructor had said during the training “when you’re sat on the edge of the plane, with your feet hanging out the door and the noise of the wind is unbearable, you can still say NO….however it so often sounds like GO!”

By putting myself in a situation where I would be pushed to succeed and face that fear, was what it took. And the experience itself? Wow! One of the most exhilarating activities of my life! The rush, the freedom, the excitement, the buzz. It was truly amazing.

I had missed out on an amazing experience twenty years earlier because I had failed to “face the fear and do it anyway”. Since then I promised myself to “just do it now”. Is this easy all the time? No. Do I succeed all the time? Not at all. And yet, when I do, when I believe in myself, the results always exceed my expectations.

My invitation to you is this: consider when you are pre-determining the result of an experience before you have allowed yourself to LIVE the experience, and when you let go of your thoughts you might be pleasantly surprised. So just go for it anyway!

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Ask Simon Smith teleseminar website launched

Simon Smith Coaching launched its new resource website today.

Ask Simon Smith provides people with an exciting new series of teleseminars answering the most important questions submitted by you.

The free teleseminar series begins by asking the question:

“As a small business owner, what is the single most important question you have about marketing your business?”

We are delighted to welcome our expert guest Nicki Bury, Managing Director - Haybury Marketing, to this conference. Nicki will be answering your own single most important questions on how to make the most from marketing.

Nicki will offer specific and very practical solutions drawing from her expert skills and vast experience including:

Marketing strategy planning
Marketing campaign planning, implementation and measurement
Project planning
Business development
Business systems
CRM strategy planning, implementation and control
Financial budget planning
Negotiation and sales experience
Website marketing
Telemarketing and market research experience
Counselling skills

To register for this free teleseminar and submit your single most important question, go to

We look forward to ‘seeing’ you on the call.

Related links:

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

The innocence of youth

We had a new addition to the family this week. Another grandchild by my stepson which he and his wife have named Tallulah Melanie. Tallulah after her cousin and Melanie after her late "Auntie Mel" who tragically died 8 years ago at only 36 years of age.

I was reminded, when I looked into the tiny face of Tallulah as I was holding her in my arms for the first time, of the innocence and pure potentiality of youth. The miracle of a new life gives us the opportunity to help create, shape, influence and inspire a whole new generation if we pay attention to how we help bring this little bundle of pure unconsciousness into the world. It is through the experiences we help create for our children that we begin to influence who they are, what they become as people and how they choose to live their life.

How careful we need to be, in our choice of words and actions, to prevent a new life from growing up with "stuff" that later in life they may discover they want or need to let go of. As parents, grand parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, godparents, teachers, employers and so on, we have a duty to encourage those we influence in some way to be all they can be and all they really are. Yet, we forget our obligations and we tell those around us, particularly children, "you can't do that, you shouldn't do this, you must do this, that isn't right, this is wrong..."

Consider the alternative. What would the world be like if we brought all our children up to believe that anything is possible? That they can be, do, have or create anything they choose. What would the world be like if we encouraged our children to give instead of take, love instead of hate, accept instead of judge?

For my part, I want to find a way to influence or inspire Tallulah to discover herself, be all she can be and have a massive impact on the world knowing that she is unique and has unique gifts, and just by being who she is, anything is possible.

With that in mind, I was inspired myself today by a mailing we received from a cause we support, that offers "great gifts" and to start the process of Tallulah's potential impact on the world, she has now provided school meals for three children in Senegal for the entire first year of her life. All that impact for an investment of a fraction of the cost of just one weeks shopping in our that's "food for thought"!

Sunday, 2 September 2007

If everyone cared...

I was at Jack Canfield's BTS training last month in Scottsdale, Arizona and this music video was shown ( Whatever your views about the specific content and the people involved, I was reminded that whoever we are, wherever we're from and whatever our background, anybody can literally change the world if we choose to.

Making a stand can take courage. Some people may attempt to discredit us or what we have to say and ultimately, in some cases, physically or mentally abuse us, incarcerate us or worse!

When something is really important to us, we can choose to take a stand for what we believe, or we can choose to hide our true feelings. Would we prefer to be a wallflower or remembered for what we believed in? A question I ask myself often.

At the end of the day, we take nothing out of this world, regardless of the material things we have accumulated in life. So, wouldn't it be great if we could leave a legacy and be remembered for having stood for something we were passionate about?

Check out the video at It really is inspiring!

What is Success?

First published in my newsletter - August 2007 (visit to sign up)

Interesting, I find, that almost without exception, when I initially ask people what they define as success they respond with a list of material things.

I recall when I first listed my goals several years ago I wrote about the big car, new house, holidays, x amount of money, travel to exotic locations etc etc. These are all important to me in some way but as I move along my own Inspired Journey of discovery, I now have an awareness that success, true success that is, is far more powerful than having £2,000,000 in the bank.

True success for me is about being totally and unconditionally in the moment, living life now, living my life on purpose and taking real pleasure from each and every moment. Just being me, just as I am; knowing that I am good enough.

I used to beat myself up, comparing myself to others and always coming off second best. I used to think I wasn’t good enough to achieve my dreams, didn’t deserve the next promotion, didn’t meet the expectations of those closest to me or my boss or my peers. I used to think that everyone else sat in judgement of me. I used to think that others would always be more successful.

So, I dreamed of the car, the house, the holidays, the travel but never really believing it could or would become reality. I dreamed of being my own boss one day. I dreamed of being exceptional on the cricket pitch. I dreamed of having a huge network of friends across the world. I dreamed of having millions, winning the lottery.

And then, after so much discovery, heartache, joy, love, passion and learning I came to realise that if I could just be present, in the here and now; if I could just enjoy the moment because it is, and I am; if I could just be me, right here, right now, then I didn’t need to dream anymore. Sure, I still have goals and desires, but now I just enjoy the moment, the journey, the discovery, whenever I can. And then I know… I am truly successful. I have already achieved!

Busy as a Bee - Focus on Action Creates Results

From my newsletter (visit to sign up) - June 2007

Summer is well and truly here and the activity of nature is all around us.

Over the last few days, with this glorious weather, I have been enjoying my first cup of tea of the day in the garden, watching nature at work. We have a dozen or so bees that are there every morning, busy busy busy, collecting nectar from our flowers and one plant in particular.

These wonderful creatures have an attitude of focussing on results, that if we were to replicate each and every day, it seems to me we could not fail in our efforts to succeed.

The bee is never distracted from its mission, regardless of what is going on around it. It finds an appropriate source of nectar and applies itself to the task, collecting its prize, filling itself up until the time it can not collect any more. After returning to base, depositing its fortunes in the safety and security of the community safe, it returns to apply its labour once more to the task in hand. It is absolutely focussed on results and does so taking full responsibility for its actions.

The bee does not blame its surroundings, its colleagues, its family, it simply stays focussed on its goal, and achieves, time and time again. Granted, when it is threatened, it reacts to protect itself and when left to its own work, it just stays on track and delivers results.

As I watched the bees do their work, focussing on the results they want, I realised that we are so often distracted by events or people that keep us from what we truly want. Most of the time, we don’t even realise we are allowing ourselves to be diverted, and then we create reasons for why we haven’t achieved that which we set out to create.

We are bombarded with 2,000,000 bits of information per second and we use our internal filters of attitudes, values, beliefs, memories, decisions, language and meta programs (the way we think and operate), to filter all those bits of information, to create our internal map of the world. The challenge is that we can only consciously focus on 7 things (+ or – 2) at any one time.

It is no surprise therefore that the most successful people in life are absolutely focussed on those things that are most important to them. Studies of people like Mahatma Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Richard Branson, Donald Trump, Dr Stephen Covey, John Gray, Denis Waitley, Mark Victor Hansen, Jack Canfield, Anthony Robbins, and so on and so on, show the common factor with all of them is just this; they are all clear and then focus on, what is most important to them. They know their top five “passions” and take focussed action towards them.

It is obvious to me therefore, that like the bees, once we take complete responsibility for the results in our life, get clarity on what is most important to us, and then take action, completely focussed on what we want to achieve (as opposed to what we don’t want), then we can only lead a successful, happy and fulfilled life…

How did we ever communicate?

From my newsletter (visit to sign up) - May 2007

It’s been a week of challenge with regard to modern communication technology this week, highlighted by a radio show we listened to which provided much hilarity on the subject…

We now have cordless telephones at home and spend half our lives, it seems, looking for them because they are no longer anchored to the wall! And when we find them – the battery is dead anyway!! Caused much frustration in my house this week when, having called my coach late, due to confusion in our original communication as to who was calling who, had to switch to my mobile within a few minutes because someone (!) had left the phone off the charger and it died as soon as I wanted to use it.

Then there is the mobile itself. Once upon a time, we bought a mobile phone to make telephone calls and speak to people on the move. Now, we keep our diary/organiser in it, receive and send email and text messages (using predictive text if you’re up to it), set alarms, keep task lists, take notes from meetings, capture key moments in photographs, listen to music, watch videos, surf the internet…oh, and make telephone calls occasionally! Not to mention the fact that we have buttons to choose to ignore the call anyway and switch it to our pre-recorded answer service. So why do we take it with us in the first place?

As for answer machines…I’ve yet to meet anyone who a) likes recording their own personal message and b) wants to talk to the machine when the person you actually want to talk to presses “ignore” call!! Those who have had the “pleasure” of listening to my answer service will know how much I enjoy recording a message for them and what’s more, those who have had the equal “pleasure” of listening to me leaving a message know how painful it can be. When the message retrieval system starts with “the next message is 4 minutes and 37 seconds long”, you know I’ve been on and gone into rambling mode!

When I switched to Blackberry (whoever thought of that name…perhaps raspberry would be more appropriate?), life changed. The lap-top bag disappeared, the Filofax was redundant and forever more I would have total access to everything I needed in one pocket sized box. It is true, that life is now simpler and I can keep myself more organised without duplicating work – weekly planner, diary, contacts (remember when you used to have to type in every contact into the new phone?), and so on. However, it is a sobering reflection…how did we ever manage without these tools?

Modern technology is here to stay and we either keep up or get left behind, but I still think the most effective communication is through seeing the whites of their eyes, creating a connection, building rapport, creating trust and shaking the friendly hand of the other person.

A final thought I picked up somewhere along the way – only 7% of communication is about the words we use. That means 93% is about everything else, tone, body language and so on. We should be careful when we use words alone as the interpretation can be totally different to the intended message, and it is our responsibility as the sender of the message to ensure it is received as we intended!

The Passion Test - The Secret to a Fulfilled and Happy Life

From my newsletter (visit to sign up) - April 2007

Who do you admire? Who are your role models in life? Why do you think “celeb” magazines are always top of the reader polls?

We live in a society where so many people want to be someone else, where celebrity status can be acquired by simply being in a position of having something, good or bad, to say about somebody else, where being chased by the paparazzi is cool. We live in a world where reality TV is considered “real”, where “B” list celebrities living in a jungle, deprived of some food and washing materials is tough, where learning to dance on ice, ballroom dance, cook or sing is categorised as entertaining. We see wannabe pop stars abused by celebrities in an effort to “make it”.

I’m not saying this isn’t entertaining. After all, tens of millions of viewers can’t all be wrong, can they? I’m not saying that there isn’t a lot to be learnt from some of the content. Indeed, I learnt a lot from my daughter when during the last series of “I’m a celebrity, get me out of here”, when she was praying for one contestant to be booted out and I sarcastically contended that “he speaks highly of you” (or would if he knew her), and that she might be better served not judging people by the way they are portrayed on TV. Her response was to cut me down with “it’s alright for you, you just love everybody”. Not sure that is entirely true but the point was well made and left me considering whether that was true and what were the implications etc etc! (Isn’t it great how much we learn from our children?)

We were lucky enough to secure tickets to see a “real celebrity” in action last week. Dolly Parton, live in concert. Now this is someone I admire. This is someone who has “made it” by following her dreams and her passions, despite a fair amount of hard knocks on the way. She really is awesome in concert and her stories touch the heart. She doesn’t simply sing, she entertains in the true sense of the word, grabbing you by your emotions and leaving you with a sense of hope that the world is full of really good people.

They say a picture paints a thousand words. My view is that a song paints a thousand pictures.

I’ve rediscovered music recently. In my efforts to develop and grow, listening to hundreds of personal development CDs in the car I’d lost sight of the joy of music. Music has always been important to me since our childhood days being brought up on Neil Diamond, Tammy Wynette, John Denver, Abba, Top of the Pops with the silvery grey glitzy pictures that were considered the latest in special effects in the 70s. I’d forgotten just how music helps people to unwind, be with themselves, take stock, reflect, just enjoying the moment. Music is one way for me to move from contraction back to expansion.

Part of living a passionate life is recognising when you’re in “expansion” and “contraction”. This, from the book “Sad to Glad” by Janet and Chris Attwood, is just one of the tools we can use to ensure we stay on track living a life aligned with our passions. The first part of course, is to strip away the layers and get clear on our passions, what gets us up in the mornings, what drives us to achieve. Most of all, it is recognising that we are all unique. We all have something to offer and nobody else can be me! We, in turn, can be nobody else.

So, enjoy you being you and I will enjoy me being me. Know that you have a unique proposition for the world. You have something special to offer that nobody else can offer – YOU!

‘Til next time.


The Secret is out and the whole world is on to it!!

From my free newsletter (visit to sign up) - February 2007

Have you ever noticed those people who when asked “how are you?” reply “could be better” or “can’t complain, and nobody would listen if I did” or “been better” and they seem to have a hard time of it, most of the time?

Have you ever been curious why, when people say “bad luck comes in threes”, they’re usually right?

Have you ever wondered how some people are so upbeat and everything seems to go their way?

This is no accident. This is not coincidence. This is not “sod’s law”.

This IS “The Secret”. This is the “Law of Attraction” at work.

The story of The Secret is phenomenal. A DVD programme created by applying The Secret, that is literally changing lives, can only be purchased online and has sold over 1,500,000 copies in less than a year. The book, just recently launched, is expected to sell over 1,000,000 very soon.

I’ve seen the results in other people. I’m experiencing the results myself and let me tell you, The Secret can change your life too.

Janet and Chris Attwood, creators of The Passion Test, were instrumental in getting the people together to help Rhonda Byrne create The Secret, through their commitment to “Enlightened Alliances”. Jack Canfield, America’s Success Coach, created the Transformational Leadership Council, many members of which, including Jack himself, starred in The Secret.

Oprah interviewed some of the stars of The Secret in February. Check it out at

We create in our lives what we choose to create. We receive into our lives what we choose to receive. There are no accidents. There are no coincidences. We can be, do or have whatever we choose. It’s no accident that the title of my book is “It’s Your Choice”, because YOUR LIFE really is YOUR CHOICE.

If you choose to start NOTICING your language, you can choose to start CHANGING your language.

Take it step by step. Start by responding positively when asked “how are you?”…try BLOODY MARVELLOUS!! – it worked for me! One of my coaches now emails me with “hello Mr Bloody Marvellous” as a starting point. She knows we’re going to have a POSITIVE conversation!

Then start noticing when you are using words like “can’t”, “don’t want”, “if only”, “should”, “must” or “have to” and replace them with CAN, WANT, WILL, CHOOSE TO.

Take control of your own language and you will be well on your way to taking control of your own life.

‘Til next time.


The Attitude of Gratitude

From my newsletter (visit to sign up) - February 2007

I’ve just flown in from sunny Los Angeles this morning, having spent the last few days attending Jack Canfield’s Advanced Training for “Breakthrough to Success”, the programme based on his number one bestselling book “The Success Principles”.

I’m always honoured and privileged to get back together with old friends from these trainings as we learn and grow together and get more and more in touch with ourselves and our respective purposes. I find myself so grateful for the opportunity.

One of Jack’s exercises this week was to have us take just five minutes in silence during one of the breaks to be aware of our surroundings and notice what we take so easily for granted. We had earlier prompted the thought process by simply asking the question “what are you grateful for?” to each other. I was amazed by how much I do indeed take for granted: a simple walk out of the training room and I noted the softness of the carpet, my shoes, the greenery of plant life scattered about the lobby, inspiring artwork on the walls, coffee, hot water, running water, warmth, mirrors, escalators, electricity, music, being recognised by someone, a friendly smile, laughter, speech, hearing, sight, mobility, the sunshine, concrete, tables, chairs, umbrellas, children and their innocence, play, caring parents, dogs, my wristwatch and the ability to sit in peace and enjoy the moment.

It was no wonder then, that later in the training, a silent auction had been suggested - one of the guest trainers was a famous musician and had autographed a waste paper bin following an impromptu jamming session using it as a drum (you had to be there I guess…!). However, it was further suggested that we should just “get in the game” and hold an auction and see what happened. Proceeds from the auction were being given to Suzannah Crowder’s Chicken Soup Kitchens (feed the homeless) project (check out Suzannah and her fantastic work at

The auction started at $30 I think and wasn’t long before it was up to $100, $200, $300, $850, $950, $1000!! And then the most amazing thing…the winner said put it back and everyone went again. Started at $750, $850, $950 and $1000…put it back! Again - $750, $1000…put it back! Again - $750, $1000…put it back! Again - $750, $1000…put it back! By this time people were crying, laughing, and hugging each other. The auctioneer brought the “winners” up on the stage and the numbers just grew and grew. The emotion and energy in the room was simply so powerful, you could feel the love and joy, the passion and the sheer abundance mentality. It sent shivers up my spine. It was such a privilege to be there.

I lost count of how many people got involved. It may have been sixteen, it may have been seventeen and when it was all done, everyone else just threw what money they had in the bin. Someone said later they would match whatever had been raised – WOW! In a space of 20 minutes, what had started as a great idea to raise a few dollars for Suzannah’s Chicken Soup, turned into $34,000+!!!

We have so much to be grateful for and we take so much for granted. It is moments like this that allow us to truly appreciate what we have, that we all have so much to give, and I don’t mean just money. What I really learnt this past few days is that if we live our lives from a place of joy, passion, integrity, love and abundance, miracles can really occur. Furthermore, when we truly take responsibility, we can change the world!

Take a few moments in silence with me today to just appreciate those things around us that are so easily taken for granted and then perhaps also look at those people in our lives that we may also not appreciate fully. Take some time to have an “Attitude of Gratitude”.

‘Til next time.