Sunday, 21 December 2008

What is it about kids?

I find it interesting how the roles between parents and children get reversed in time.

We went out last night to have dinner with friends. Everything was all arranged, with our daughter's friend coming over so that they could have a pizza delivered, a bottle of wine, and a girly night in with music and pampering. We would be happy knowing that they were ok and we could enjoy our night out.

As it was, we were pestered by text messages and voice mails wanting to find out what time we would be back, when were we leaving for home etc. When we didn't respond quickly enough because our mobile signals were intermittent we were chastised for not being available.

I certainly got a sense of deja vu, but backwards!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

The Power of a Mastermind Group

Napoleon Hill, in his book "Think and Grow Rich", discussed how important it is to create a support group known as a Mastermind Group, to hold you accountable for moving forward towards the achievement of your goals. As well as having your mastermind group keep you on track, perhaps more importantly, you are there to support your colleagues in fulfilling their own dreams and desires.

The group follows a structured agenda that ensures everyone gets and gives value to the collective whole; sharing insights, resources, challenges and successes. The whole process provides the members with an opportunity to brainstorm ideas and learn from each other.

I've been involved in several groups now and continue to get such tremendous inspiration from my fellow mastermind group members. Whether every thing in the garden is rosy or at those times when things are not going so well, every time we speak I am always inspired and motivated to move on after we've had our regular call or meeting.

I am also priviliged and honoured to be involved in Jack Canfield's "Platinum Inner Circle" mastermind group which is a collection of people from across the world with such a wide and diverse set of experiences that you cannot help but feel totally in awe of what is possible when the group gets together.

It is said that great minds think alike. The power of the mastermind group is that members are like minded in respect of their commitment to each other to create great things, yet their sometimes very very different experiences and knowledge brings so much added value to the table of the others.

As well as being involved as a member of my own mastermind groups, it is also a delight to be facilitating groups through our Step Up to Success coaching and mastermind programme. We see massive shifts in the results members experience as they enjoy the support and interaction of their respective groups, many being part of a mastermind group for the first time.

Napoleon Hill was spot on when he introduced the concept of mastermind groups in his book and it is certainly my intention to be part of a group for the foreseeable future. I wouldn't want to be without the support I get and I appreciate my friends in my groups so much for their unwavering commitment to me and the rest of the team. It also brings me so much personal joy and satisfaction to know that in some small way I can be part of something that literally can help to transform people's lives.

If you don't have your own mastermind group then you can form one yourself by simply inviting some like minded friends or business colleagues to get together. Alternatively, if you want to know more about our Step Up to Success coaching and mastermind programme then call us on +44 (0)28 9048 8673 or make an enquiry at and we'll be happy to chat and find out more about how we can support you to achieve your own goals, dreams and desires.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Will you do whatever it takes?

I was at a Dennis Lecorriere concert the weekend before last and for those of you who are too young to remember he was one of the lead singers with the band Dr. Hook who were one of the most successful worldwide acts in the 1970’s and early 80’s.

Whilst I have to admit I was not entirely inspired by the idea of going to the concert in the first place (it was a treat for my wife), I was very soon turned around once he began to perform. I say perform because he did just that. He built rapport with the audience by talking to them in a conversational style, sung a couple of tunes, talked some more, sung some more, and so on. It was as if we had known each other personally for years and he was simply engaging in discussion in a bar or someone’s living room.

It occurred to me that this genuinely pleasant individual was truly doing what he loved. He had been on tour for months and still has several gigs to deliver before, one assumes, returning home to the U.S. for Christmas. His son introduced him on stage and he had nothing more than a couple of guitars on stands, a table with two bottles of water and a few drapes on the stage. There was none of the cutting edge extravagance you might expect with a Robbie Williams or a Madonna or a Kylie Minogue stage show. Just one man, his music and a little conversation.

At one point, he got the audience involved in singing along with a chorus. First the men, then the women. Many did indeed play the game, and many did not. Lecorriere then made quite a profound statement that struck a chord with me, if you’ll pardon the pun. He said:
“There are those that will join in and they are fine. Then there are those who don’t join in because they just don’t want to, and that’s fine also. They have made a choice that they are comfortable with. The ones I worry about are those who want to join in but don’t!”

This reminded me of the saying “the way we do one thing is the way we do everything”. In other words, if you were one of those who really did want to join in but didn’t, where else in life do you hold back from doing what you truly want to do? What would not getting involved ultimately cost in terms of fulfilment, enjoyment, joy, satisfaction, growth, peace, success…?

Dennis Lecorriere is clearly doing what he loves when he is on stage and he seems to have a genuine desire to provide exceptional value to his audience. He wants to serve them and allow them the freedom to be themselves, as he does. He builds exceptional rapport with his audience without any apparent expectation of a return. He wants to give rather than take. He is a powerful salesman who builds a relationship with his audience and has them buying into the process without any suspicion or mistrust. He provides entertainment and in my case education. I suspect that had there been customer satisfaction forms at the door he would have achieved a resounding positive score. It was effortless because he wanted to add value and ensure that his fee paying public left feeling great about the experience and would come back for more some other time.

So, a couple of questions that you might like to consider, if you choose to, are:

“What would make adding value to the customer experience effortless?”

“How do I/we show up in the supplier/customer relationship?”

“Am I/we joining in or simply holding back from being truly fulfilled?”

Monday, 10 November 2008

Playing the blame game

Its been an interesting week... I used to say this to my coach almost every time we spoke and it always made us smile because we knew that there was so much more to it than "interesting".

The ups and downs of business can be a worry for many and certainly many people I have spoken to in recent days are bullish on the face of it and at the very least cautious. Some are downright worried.

The US election has been entertaining regardless of which side of the fence you sit. The razzamatazz that surrounds this most important of events at some level seems to have undermined the more significant issues.

People are playing the blame game, not only at a personal level, but at a corporate and even national level. They are looking to Barack Obama to wave some sort of magic wand and correct the US economic problems and this in turn will solve the global crisis we are apparently having, or going to have, depending on who you listen to.

I'm not sure that one man has that much influence and even if he does, is it right that we look to him and hold him responsible for success or failure in the future?

What does it say about our society that we hold one person ultimately reponsible? Perhaps it's easier to look to the leader of the most powerful nation on earth to solve the current challenges than it is to take personal responsibility and do whatever it takes to move forward ourselves?

Whatever our own current challenges are, financial, business success, a boss we don't like or can't get on with, a spouse or partner relationship problem, children and their exams, the weather and dark nights closing in, etc. etc. it occurs to me that I would prefer to hold myself accountable than rely on someone or something else to wave a magic wand.

At least, by holding myself accountable and responsible for my own results, I can look myself squarely in the mirror and say "you are doing your best".

Monday, 27 October 2008

Selling from a Buyer's Perspective

If you enter sales techniques into internet search engines you will create 8 million results, give or take a few.

On the first page you will see AIDA - get their attention, create interest and then desire and complete the process with a call to action.

Following this you will see such attractive titles as “successful sales presentations”, “using presentation technology”, “handling objections”, “negotiating a sale”, “dealing with sales nerves” and so on and so on.

What so much sales advice fails to consider is that the buyer is the one in control. The buyer is the one making the decisions. The buyer is the one who has stuff on his or her mind.

There is no such thing as selling, only buying!

People buy for just two reasons:

· To solve a problem they have, or

· To achieve a dream they desire

So when you are next considering putting together that super whizz presentation, or creating all those objection handling scenarios, or buying the flash suit and the designer shoes to wow your audience at the next sales meeting, consider this: what’s going on for them, the buyer? What do they need? How can you help them? Don’t sell, let them buy.

Selling from a Buyer’s Perspective is sales training with a difference. You will get into the mind of the buyer and talk to them from their perspective. It’s not about techniques and sales models and processes, it’s about understanding and empathy and communication. It’s not about ABC (always be closing), it’s about asking and listening. It’s not about AIDA, it’s about helping people make the buying decision that is right for them.

Will you increase sales by attending this training? Absolutely.
Will you be more confident when you are negotiating the deal? Certainly.
Will you find out what is really going on for the buyer? Definitely.

This training is designed and delivered by people who are purchasing professionals and experts in understanding how people communicate.

It is designed for people who want to increase sales and know there is a better way than trying to manipulate people through techniques that only work for the short term.

For further information or to book on the next open training visit and take your sales process to a whole new level.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

What would you do with more time?

What would you do with more time?

We all dream of having more time. Some of us struggle with too many things to do. We're overwhelmed and working more hours than ever.

I keep hearing from people that their biggest frustration is time management, and being a lot less productive than they know they should be. It's not surprising - we've all got more to do, less time to do it in, and more distractions than ever. I know some of this rings true for you.

So I want to tell you about the upcoming Time Experts Telesummit which has been brought to my attention by my very dear friend and performance coach, Kris Carey. The event brings together 10 world-class experts on time management and productivity. They will teach you ways to work with less stress, eliminate distractions that steal your time, and double your productivity.

You can listen to all the teleseminars for free if you sign up by 14th October (which is when the Telesummit starts).

As you well know, I am very careful about who I recommend. This group of 10 bestselling authors and thought leaders is truly impressive. Their techniques and methods have been successfully practiced by thousands of people.

One of the experts, Dr. Neil Fiore, wrote the bestselling book on procrastination on Amazon. Another expert, Mike Song, is possibly the best known expert on email efficiency in the US. There is even a Zen master sharing his wisdom about time.

Just a few hours of learning from these experts will have a huge impact on your productivity - for the rest of your life. It only takes learning one key productivity technique or practice (and a few hours of listening) for you to have a major breakthrough on your biggest time management challenge.

The event is designed so that you can listen to each of the teleseminars on the phone or via the web. I've signed up for this event, and am looking forward to soaking up the knowledge of these experts.

I trust you will join me. Sign up here for the Time Experts Telesummit - Registration is free before 14th October.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Dance in the rain

It's been a tough week out there. The financial markets and banking problems have been the centre of attention in all the media, and despite my own best efforts in not watching the news on TV, listening to it on the radio or reading the press, I have not been able to avoid it entirely.

A friend emailed me yesterday and described how they had been discussing with their grandmother how it's difficult to move forward in business right now, more using her as a sounding board than anything else, and her response had been really thought provoking: "Life is not about how to survive in the storm, it's about learning how to dance in the rain".

This comment reminded me how much we can learn from those around us who are at the two ends of the lifespan; children and the elderly. Children are so allowing of what happens in the world. They see only possibility and have a ferocious curiousity for discovering new things. The elderly have seen it and done it and know that there is so much more to enjoying life than the trappings we all seem to strive for in this day and age. They know that life is in fact much easier now than it has ever been and they often look back at "the good old days" with fond affection, even though times may have been tougher.

We take so much for granted in this modern world of gadgets and technology. We have luxuries, holidays, cars and homes that earlier generations could have only dreamed of, yet we believe we can't afford everything we want. When you watch a child splashing in the puddles on a rainy afternoon, do they have any idea that we are supposed to be having a tough time and can't afford all those things we say we need? No, they are simply enjoying the moment, learning how to dance in the rain.

I think my friend's grandmother got it right. If we stop trying to survive the storm and just take time to dance in the rain, we may in fact find that life isn't so bad really. We don't have to buy into the idea that times are tough. They just are what they are. We can choose to be miserable and blame the economy, the government and the banks, or we can choose to dance and play in the puddles. I know what I'm going to do!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

I'm not participating!

Dr. Ivan Misner, founder of BNI and member of Jack Canfield's "Transformational Leadership Council" encouraged his members last week in his newsletter to state "I'm not participating in a recession!" Quite right too!

We all have a choice about how we feel and I encourage people I work with to observe their own language and change it when they find themselves using negative language or having thoughts that are focused on what may go wrong. Some will criticise this approach and say that one needs to be realistic. So I ask you "what is realistic?"

If realism is allowing oneself to be negatively affected by circumstances outside of them, or by comments someone else makes, then give me the alternative every time.

In their book "The Amazing Power of Deliberate Intent" Esther and Jerry Hicks, or more accurately, the "collective consciousness" called Abraham, asks "why would you want to accept or "face a reality" that is not pleasing when you can create a reality that IS pleasing?"

My view is simply this: if you know that you do have a choice about how you feel, then wouldn't it serve you better to choose a feeling of empowerment and positive energy rather than allow yourself to be drawn into a place of negativity? So, by keeping an eye on the language we use, we can create the positive energy we would prefer, just by changing what we say and the thoughts we think.

So no, I am not participating in a recession and I invite you to make the same choice!

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Collaborate for Growth

Much is made of the power of networking and building your network. It is said that you are the sum of the five people you spend most time with.

If this is true, and I believe it is, then it makes sense to surround yourself with like minded people who add value to your life and you in turn add value to theirs.

If you think about it, have you ever found yourself being drained of energy by being in the company of someone who is constantly whining and moaning about how unfair life is, or how everything bad that is apparently happening to them is the fault of someone else?

When you are in this position, what do you do about it? Do you get drawn in and affirm what they are saying? Do you ask them to stop whinging because you don't want to be part of it? Do you walk away and remove yourself from the conversation or do you simply just put up with it and tell yourself that's just the way they are?

Being in business can be a lonely environment, particularly in the early days. Finding people who reflect how you think, who have similar values, who offer complementary services or products to yours, can be a great antedote to the dis-ease of getting involved in the "life's a downer" club. Furthermore, they can motivate and inspire you, support your projects and ideas, become an advocate of your work to others, or indeed form a partnership in which "two heads are better than one", creating a product or service far more powerful than each individual might have created on their own.

So next time you meet someone for the first time consider how you might be aligned and then ask yourself "is there an opportunity to form an alliance that is mutually supportive and potentially profitable, not only in terms of money but also in respect of motivation, inspiration and creation?".

When you do this you will often find that those you might have considered competitors previously, may in fact be your biggest allies.

When great minds come together the possibilities are endless!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Visualise your Success, be clear about it!

All of the great teachers talk about visualising your success using a variety of different methods, tools and techniques.

Some talk about simply setting goals, on the basis that if you don’t know where you want to go, how can you possibly expect to get there?

We hear about SMART goals, that they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timebound. Others will invite you to feel how you would when the goal is achieved - sense the emotions; the buzz, excitement, confidence, laughter, celebration and so on. You might imagine the sounds around you, the people and the environment you are in.

We are told that what we resist persists, so focus on what you want, not what you don’t want, as what you focus on you create. It is said you can’t think about what you don’t want to think about, without thinking about it. So you shouldn’t think about not being in debt, you should think about being financially free. You should think about having a wonderful time seeing your relatives after you have landed, not the turbulent air and the storm outside the plane while you’re in the air.

Some teachers invite you to create vision boards or goals books, computer wallpaper backgrounds of your dream home or holiday destination, powerpoint slides and iPod photo albums. Others will have you visualising what you want, in meditation or just quiet reflection. Some will ask you to release on your attachment to a goal or a dream once you have decided it, others will have you list them and read them every day.

Many teachers will have you do a combination of all these things and a variety of others as well.

I’ve used all of these and many others at one time or another and what I am certain about is that you must be absolutely clear on what it is you do want. Where there is doubt or lack of clarity, there is lack of focus. Where there is lack of focus there is a lack of action. Where there is lack of action, there are “unexpected outcomes”.

We cannot predict exactly how our results pan out, but we can predict exactly what actions we will take in the anticipation of certain results. It is far easier to plan the action when we are clear about what we see as being the result. To have that clarity we must visualise our success and be clear about what it is that we want.

I was reminded of the need for clarity earlier this week when creating my goals for the following day. I visualised booking after booking coming through electronically for an event we are promoting just now (see below). We had just implemented the next stage of the marketing plan and I saw in my mind’s eye all these bookings popping up on the screen.

Imagine how great I felt first thing the next morning when I just watched the screen fill up with new booking after new booking. I knew that we had created a great plan, we had implemented it as we had expected and I had visualised the next day’s goals being achieved. What a feeling!

Unfortunately, I had missed a key ingredient in the process – visualising exactly what those bookings looked like. I hadn’t considered who the delegates might be, or where they had come from, how we could give them great value, what they needed from the seminar and so on.

So what was the actual result? web design people TESTING a development we had asked for. Booking after booking saying test, test, test!!

My SUCCESS TIP this week therefore is just this:

VISUALISE YOUR SUCCESS, and BE CLEAR about what you want, otherwise don’t be surprised when you get an unexpected outcome!

If you want to know more about how leadership coaching and training can help you improve your results in business contact us

Prosper in an economic downturn

There is so much talk about the economy right now, even to the extent that a friend of mine sang “Happy Birthday” to the “Credit Crunch” at a meeting last week!

It is said that everybody is unhappy about the current economic situation.

Well, not everybody…

We’ve teamed up with Martin Laschkolnig who helps people to double their income and double their time off at the same time.

And - he says that anyone can do it within the next two years! Now, how about that?

Martin is the European representative of Jack Canfield who you might know as the co-author of "Chicken Soup for the Soul" and who was featured in the mega success movie and book "The Secret". He also authored the bestselling book "The Success Principles" and Martin is teaching exactly these principles.

Check it out at:

Martin is coming to join me in Northern Ireland on 27th September and we will bring you the core of these principles. We’ve packed it up in a way that is engaging and experiential. You will learn right on the spot how you can apply these principles to your life right from the next day on - to create the success and balance that you really want.

And, if you were to increase your income and your time off by only 20 to 30 %, wouldn't that be worth it?

Go to and see what Jack Canfield says about Martin.

Wishing you success!


P.S. We are still offering an early bird rate until 15th August, so don't wait any longer and check it out at:

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

What do you stand for?

I received an email this morning from my coach in Sydney and it literally stopped me in my tracks. It contained a story which I decided to share with you a little further below.

We talk about taking 100% responsibility for our lives. We say that the way we feel, the results we get, the responses we get from others around us, is all a choice. We discuss getting out of the blame game and creating the life we want and the goals we desire.

The story simply had me consider “what do I choose to stand for?” regardless of what I have achieved yet, or may want to achieve in the future, despite the successes I have created or the feedback I have used when outcomes have been “unexpected”.

Many people in business try and sell what they have to sell without consideration for what people actually need or want. Some businesses “go for the close” before asking their customers “what do you need?” or “how can I help you?” Occasionally businesses will force their product or service on someone and they may even buy, once.

Many businesses are so focused on their “competition” they forget to see how they can add value to their own customers. They are constantly looking for the opportunity to “beat the competition” rather than look to improve what they do for benefit of being better than they themselves are right now. Perhaps the only competition we have in business is ourselves?

But what do these businesses stand for? What do you stand for in your business, your life?

This story may help…Would you have made the same choice?

Two Choices

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.

After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:'When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection.Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do.Where is the natural order of things in my son?'

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. 'I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.'Then he told the following story:

Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?'

I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, 'We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.'

Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.

In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again.

Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman.

Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, 'Shay, run to first!Run to first!'

Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, 'Run to second, run to second!'

Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball, the smallest guy on their team, who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team.He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head.

Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home. All were screaming, 'Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay'

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, 'Run to third!‘Shay, run to third!'

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, 'Shay, run home! Run home!'

Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.

'That day', said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, 'the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world'.

Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

And the foot note that came with this story:

We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people hesitate. The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces.

If you're thinking about forwarding this message, chances are that you're probably sorting out the people in your address book who aren't the 'appropriate' ones to receive this type of message Well, the person who sent you this believes that we all can make a difference.We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the 'natural order of things.'

So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice:Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?

A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats it's least fortunate amongst them.

You now have two choices: 1. Delete 2. Forward

May your day, be a Shay Day.

I receive many stories and video clips every day, many if which will invite the reader to forward it to other people. For me, my choice is to ignore that invitation as I, like you no doubt, don’t want to add to people’s inbox just for the sake of it.

Today however, I made a choice. This choice is based simply on the question I asked at the top of this article “what do I choose to stand for?”

Imagine a business world where people made choices like the baseball team in the story. Imagine a business world where everyone truly wanted to support each other to be successful rather than just “cut each other’s throats” for the sake of the quick sale. Imagine a business world that believed in “win/win” in the true spirit of the principle so well described by Stephen Covey in his book. Imagine your business if everyone you encountered tried to help you be successful and you in turn tried to help them.

Would you prefer to go to work each day knowing that everyone you meet wants to help and support you to win, or do you prefer the cut throat competitive world of mistrust and deviousness that results in win/lose or lose/win?

So ultimately, you really do have a choice and my success tip this week is simply this:

Ask yourself, “What do I choose to stand for?”

I trust you do indeed have a “Shay day” ;o)

If you want to know more about how leadership coaching and training can help you improve your results in business we will be happy to discuss this with you. Contact us here.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

See what you want, get what you see

It’s been a big week!...or more precisely ten days. I was at a leadership training event the weekend before last during which we studied some of the world’s most influential leaders, past and present; Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa. I was inspired by the vision of these people, a clear unrelenting energy towards what they wanted. They could see a different world; a world of equality and understanding; a world of peace and forgiveness; a world where people need not be poor or mistreated; a world where one person could really make a difference if they stayed true to their purpose.

Great leaders have a vision. Great leaders know what they want. Great leaders do whatever it takes to make their dreams a reality. They inspire people around them. They motivate and excite. They stand up for what they believe to be right. They take action and they engage people to do the same. King, Mandela and Mother Theresa did all of these things and they achieved so much.

We learnt to think big, as great leaders think. We learnt to get out of our own way, as great leaders do. We learnt that the only thing stopping us be, do, have or create the success we wanted was our own limited thinking, beliefs and boundaries we had created. We learnt that we had so much more to offer, if we chose to step up and be real.

Whilst reflecting on the learnings, and there were so many more than just these few, I was reminded of an “education slot” a friend of mine had delivered at a recent meeting I attended in which he had identified his 11 top tips for success in business.

Many of his tips relate to being a great leader in business and whilst we all may not wish to be so public in our demonstration of leadership as those world leaders we studied in Dublin, it is my belief that great businesses are run by great leaders.

So this week’s Success Tips, courtesy of Jeremy Cruiks (and my interpretation of his meaning), are:

Have clear objectives and a business plan – Get clear about where you want to be and plan how and what needs to happen to get you there

Employ the right staff – Create the right support team and resources around you and they will help you achieve what you want

Make it easy for the staff to do the right thing – Create systems, processes and provide training and development opportunities for everyone so that they feel valued, respected and have influence in the success

Do even the small things well – Attention to detail is vital, even the little things

Keep your promises – Be honest and act with integrity. The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.

Use experts when you need to – Empower others and relinquish control when appropriate. Outsource to those who are expert in their respective fields. 1+1 = 11; the team is greater than any individual.

Create a positive company culture – Get clear about why you exist, your purpose, vision, mission, and create standards that everyone lives up to.

Know your figures – Keep your finger on the financial pulse.

Turnover is ego, profit is king – Keep your keenest eye on the margins and profitability. Manage costs carefully and invest wisely in those things that can provide a measurable return on that investment, e.g. training and marketing.

Diversify – too specialised, too exposed – Be open to the possibilities and don’t get too emotionally attached to one product or service.

Remember cash flow – Keep on top of credit control and manage your accounts well.

So, successful businesses are created by great leaders. Great leaders are those that inspire others through their absolute determination so that they see what they want and get what they see!

Jeremy Cruiks is an Independent Financial Advisor and partner of Pensions, Mortgages and More. According to Jeremy and his team: “Independent financial advice means having an advisor acting for YOUR interests and one who can access products from the whole of the available market. Experience is also invaluable when dealing with mortgage lenders, insurance companies and investment companies. As IFAs we must give you the most suitable advice given your own set of circumstances”

If you want to know more about how leadership coaching and training can help you improve your results in business we will be happy to discuss this with you. Contact us here.

Getting yourself out of a rut

I was asked a question through one of our recent free teleseminars “How do you get yourself out of a rut?”

Not an easy question to answer because of course it really does depend on the context of “the rut”. However, I came across the question again recently and it reminded me of a story told to me some years ago about a guy who had got himself so badly in debt that life literally didn’t seem worth living. It seems topical right now, given all the negative news we are exposed to almost every day, that the world is going into recession, fuel prices are higher than they have ever been, food costs are soaring, the credit crunch is biting, and life is becoming harder and harder.

This guy had a good job, a nice house, company car, regular holidays, spent time in the pub with his friends, had a supportive family around him, and yet still managed to spend more than he earned. His family wanted more material things around them and he wanted to be able to provide for them. His friends invited him to social events and he didn’t want to miss out. Credit card companies and banks offered him more and more money to provide him with what were essentially luxuries, and he took them up on their offers and continued to spend. Life was great so to speak.

Unfortunately, it became increasingly obvious that he was in fact living beyond his means and before long the payments were becoming a burden and there was no longer any spare money for the things that the family had become used to. He began to worry about how he could keep providing for himself and his family in the same way he had previously. The more he worried, the worse it got.

Eventually it got to the stage where he had no choice but to own up to the situation he found himself in, and talk to his family. He had been so wrapped up in the problem that he found himself considering suicide so that the insurance would settle everything and his family would get what they needed, or wanted at least. However, he realised that he simply had to own up to the reality of the situation and talk it through with those who were most important to him. The relief he felt was enormous and unsurprisingly, in hindsight anyway, his family remained absolutely supportive and helped him see that there were indeed options available to him.

Through talking to his family, he was able to see that there were alternatives and life could continue, albeit things would have to change. His attitude began to shift and he became more positive and resourceful. He calculated the reality of his financial situation and wrote letters to the credit card companies and the banks. He was honest with himself about what was possible and then was honest with his creditors. Some of them resisted at first but when they realised that they had a genuine offer on the table they relented and allowed him to make payments according to his plan. His family continued to support him because they realised they could help. The light at the end of the tunnel was dim, but it was definitely there.

It took time, it took patience, but in the end he got out of his rut and he and his family looked forward to a much more fulfilling and exciting life together. They had got through “the worst” and were moving on “for better” as they had vowed together some years before.

This guy’s “rut” was created because he had bottled everything up and had not been honest with himself or his family. He had, as they say, buried his head in the sand, in the hope that things would go away. In fact, his solution was closer to him than he had realised, and just by being honest and having a conversation he was able to see that options were actually available to him. Life became easier and a future of possibilities was discovered.

So this week’s Success Tips are:

Be honest with yourself and with others – by being honest opportunities become clearer and the “burden” is relieved.

Communicate with people around you – if it is simply too much of a stretch to talk to those close to you at first, talk to a friend, coach or mastermind buddy.

Get out of the problem – ask yourself “what is the problem not?”

And a bonus tip not drawn from the story told to me; remove negative media from your life. The current economic climate may not seem all that rosy but the media do nothing to help the situation. We have a choice about how we feel. Don’t allow others to influence the positive choices you can make for yourself. In simple terms, only allow positive influences and people in your life. Turn the TV and the radio off when the “news” comes on. Read positive material. Choose positive friends.

Some people will say that by removing all the negativity from our lives, we are simply hiding from reality. I maintain that the truth is just an interpretation of events or circumstances. My truth is that life can be as positive as we want to make it, we really do have a choice how we feel!

If you want to know more about how coaching and masterminding can help you improve your results in business and in life in general we will be happy to discuss this with you. Contact us here

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

A Day for Success - Are you ready to unlock the power within YOU?

A message from my very good friend Martin Laschkolnig:


I know that you have been thinking about how to get better results…we all do. So the question “did you ever think about how to improve things" would be an insult to your intelligence and your life experience, so I won’t ask.

But let me ask you one thing:

Do you think that it’s possible to double your income and your time off within two years or less?

Sounds too good to be true? Sounds impossible? Sounds like: “well perhaps, but not in my situation”?

What would life be like if it were true? What if we could show you a way to do just that – no matter what industry you are in or what your business or situation is like?

Well, I’m not babbling – I learned from the best and I am honoured to be his exclusive European partner: Jack Canfield – America’s Success Coach, as featured in The Secret, author of The Success Principles and co-author with Mark Victor Hansen of the book phenomenon Chicken Soup for the Soul with more than 120 million copies in print across the world.

I did not only learn from Jack, I also applied what I learnt and did exactly that last year…doubled my profit and my time off!

Check out on the next page what you could learn and join Simon and I on 26th September in Belfast – and you can do the same (well, only if you want to…)

To your Success – with my best wishes

Martin Laschkolnig

On 27th September you will discover how to:

- Identify what you really want

- Motivate yourself to not only get started but complete what you start, so you actually get the rewards you want

- Identify what is most important to you and live a life of passion

- Create success habits and integrate them into your life forever

- Stay focused on your “core genius” and use that to raise your game

- See what you want and get what you see

- Identify your unique purpose in life

- Handle setbacks and “failure” to your advantage and make you all the more powerful

Get practical strategies and techniques to:

- Stop settling for second best, saying “no” so that you can say “yes” to success

- Identify when you perform at your peak and how to manage your time for high performance results

- Eliminate limiting beliefs and decisions and silence your inner critic

- Build your confidence and stay resourceful in any situation

- Reduce stress, frustration and other negative emotions within minutes

Plus so much more…

Book now and join us on this special day and begin the life you always wanted to live!

Your investment:

Regular: Booked and paid for after 15th August £197.00

Early bird: Book and pay for before 15th August £147.00(save £50!)

Super Saver Offer:

Bring a partner or buddy: just £97.00 (save £100!)

Book now and save £50 off the normal price. Book a partner or friend at the same time and save a further £100!

Lunch and refreshments included.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Do your planning and development now and stay ahead of the competition

It always interests me when I hear people in business say that it isn't possible to do anything during the summer because everyone is away on holiday. It seems that because we take a week or two for a break some time during July and August that the entire country comes to a stop!

Is this true? Well of course not. In fact, my experience is that typically most business owners I know work through the vast array of bank holidays we have to endure as they can get so much more completed on these days. Furthermore, they are at their office enjoying the peace and quiet in the belief that everyone else has taken the day off.

If we applied similar thinking during the entire summer what would our business look like? Just because our staff, customers and suppliers take a summer break does not mean that everything stops entirely for two months. In fact, this is exactly the time when we could, and should, complete our planning and development so that we hit the ground running in the autumn and get a head start on the competition.

This is the perfect time, it seems to me, to review the business and it's strategies, assess goals, certainly plan and possibly deliver training, look for the new opportunities and get everything in place for the busy period between September and Christmas.

The alternative is to sit back and wait and then do all these things in the autumn by which time you are so busy that you don't have time to review and plan. The result is then, in all likelihood, that it gets put off until after the new year and suddenly six months have passed and you are wondering why you are left behind from your competitors. Why would you do that?

So, take my tip - have your break in the summer, certainly, and then use the other six weeks to review where the business is right now, plan your strategies, develop new marketing methods, identify training needs (and if possible deliver what is required), and then start September with everything in place already. If you do this you will almost certainly be ahead of your competition and will be much better placed to optimise the opportunity when others are still trying to catch up.

Like any review process, it is wise to enrol support from those who will help you look at the business without your "rose tinted glasses". With this in mind now is the perfect time to talk to a business coach and explore how they can help you "get all your ducks in a row" over the next few months.

If you would like to speak to us about the support available to you right now that will help you put your plans in place and stay ahead of the competition, give us a call on +44 (0)28 9048 8673 or visit and we'll arrange to have a conversation with no obligation to you.

Don't fall into the "we can't do anything in the summer" trap. Call us now and take the opportunity to see how you can make the most of your business when others around you are asleep.

Wishing you success!

Monday, 26 May 2008

Focus on your core skills - let others do what they are good at

It can be hard when you start a business to get everything done. Not only is there the work that you started the business to do, your passion if you like, but there are also all the other things that need doing that keep a business efficient.

These are often the tasks that drain your energy and take you away from your core skills. Prospecting, accounts, banking, tax issues, marketing, sales, networking, insurance issues, payroll, staff issues, training and so on. Sometimes it can seem that there is not enough time to do what you went in to business to do, and yet all these things have to be done.

Advisors will tell you "outsource" and it seems logical. However this can be scary. After all it means investment in paying someone else to do the things that you could do yourself and save money. At the beginning it is even more of a dilemma.

How do you balance expense against your own productivity?

I struggled with this for a long time. I am perfectly capable of keeping reasonable accounts. I know what I want in terms of how my office is organised. I can theoretically turn my hand to writing script for website. I can put a sales letter together and no one can network for me so I have to do that myself.

Then I realised that I was spending 12-18 hours a week on my accounts. I was being diverted from getting new clients by posting articles on various websites around the world. I was creating spreadsheets to track coaching and training hours. I was developing new ways to market my business. I was doing everything I could do move my business forward, I told myself, but I wasn't getting enough time and I wasn't getting enough clients!

So when the light bulb came on with the accounts fiasco, I woke up and smelt the coffee. I got myself a book keeper. Suddenly I had "created" another two days to my week. She did what she did best which freed my time up to do what I did best. Then I engaged a marketing coach and she supported me with what she does best. After that I took on a new accountant and a financial advisor, a new bank, a success coach and got involved in a mastermind group. It wasn't long before I had a great support team around me and I was then able to do what I do best, coach, train and speak at events. The business literally went from zero active clients to the best ever month in 4 weeks and each subsequent month continued to grow.

I'm not saying it wasn't scary. The idea of investing more money after having already put everything into the business was terrifying frankly, but it did mean that I had created my very best chance for success because I had stacked the odds in my favour.

The best move of all though was taking on admin support. With two part time assistants I could now delegate all those essential yet time consuming tasks around the office. Keeping the database up to date, creating spreadsheets, prospect call lists, filing etc etc etc. This was the crunch. This enabled me to go from 1 "focus" day a week and 6 "buffer" days to 3-4 focus days and 1 or 2 buffer days AND get at least 1 totally free day and even 2!!

I then began to find that the more I delegated the more I got done...obvious really, but when your business is your baby you don't want to give it to a baby sitter!

It's a stretch to move into "outsourcing" but it is, without a doubt, one of the quickest and most satisfying decisions you can make. You get to focus on your skills, those things that you went into business for, and you allow others to do what they do best in support of you. Tu
You can employ people later but in the first instance just get your support team on your bus and watch the results improve.

A word of caution though...make sure you use the extra time you create to drive your business forward. Don't fall into the trap of outsourcing and then divorcing yourself from your primary responsibility of making your business work. That's an avenue that, if followed, will certainly lead to misery.

So my tips for success right now are:

1. Create a powerful and effective support team
2. Outsource anything that is not your core skill or passion
3. Delegate, delegate, delegate

And of course, hire a success coach! ;o)

To your success!

If you want to know more about how success coaching can help you transform your business visit is at and submit an enquiry, or call us for an informal chat on +44 (0)28 9048 8673.

Your success is our business!

Friday, 9 May 2008

Use your Peak Performance time to optimise results

Have you ever tried to finish, or even start, a project, proposal, important letter, or perhaps a presentation, and found yourself staring at a blank piece of paper or computer screen? That feeling of trying to push water uphill or swim against the tide...

It is at these times I am reminded how useful it is to a) identify, and b) use, those times of the day when we perform at our best - our Peak Performance hours. After all, who says that we must get the most out of ourselves between the standard "9 to 5"?

For me, I know that if I want to be creative or "think outside the box", the best times are 6 am to 12 noon and then again between 10 pm and 2 am after everyone at home has gone to bed. That's assuming that I've had the discipline to have had enough sleep and enough "breaks" as well.

At other times of the day I know that I need to have meetings or coaching sessions with other people so that someone else is providing some of the input and stimulating my "creativity". Identifying and then applying this knowledge helps me to ensure that when planning my time I am doing my utmost to get the most from myself and my day.

Is it always easy? Of course not. Things go a little awry at times when people need something from me that doesn't "fit" with my idea of the ideally laid out day, and these are the times when I usually find that something on my day planner "slips" off the page and ends up in another day. The facts remain the same nevertheless; if I keep to the system knowing that it works, I always get so much more from my time and myself.

Sometimes, we need reminding though and that's where the true power of a mastermind group, accountability partner or coach shows up. My support team are great at "stretching" me to get the most out of me, and they so often are able to say the right thing that stimulates me to deliver on my own expectations of myself.

The results then speak for themselves...

So, my success tips for anyone who wants to optimise their results in business and their life are:

1. Identify your own Peak Performance times

2. Plan your day as far as you can to get the most out of yourself and your time using this knowledge

3. Create your own support team including a coach, accountability partner and/or a mastermind group


If you want to know more about how coaching and masterminding can help you improve your results give us a call or visit

Monday, 5 May 2008

Does just "Belief and Commitment" create Success?

It's a Bank Holiday today, marked significantly by the wonderful absence of traffic as I was driving over to see a client this morning.

As I drove through Belfast I came across the marathon runners wending their way around the city. At first just a few, the "elite", super fit leaders, and then the numbers increased as the masses came through. I was reminded of the self belief and commitment that all these people would have made just to be able to make it to the starting line today. The hours and weeks of lonely training in all weathers. The pounding out the miles when many of us would have still been tucked up in our beds. The heartache and pain with the blisters and occasional injury. All for the opportunity to be able to say "I did it, I was there".

I have always admired these people, particularly those that are so fit they can complete the race in just over 2 hours. Wow, what a feat of endurance! It takes massive courage to take on the challenge. Many run for the benefit of others, a worthy cause that they have some personal affinity towards. Others just do it to prove to themselves that they can. Wheelchair participants, less able runners, people with limited or no sight, and so on. All of these have one thing in common - they absolutely believe they can do it, and do whatever it takes to make sure they do.

Business is no different. Success is created when we have an unwavering belief in what we are trying to do. When we make the commitment to our customers and our staff. When we do whatever it takes to fulfil the needs of our clients and serve them to the best of our ability. When we play full out to deliver great service. It is these things that ensure success.

I wonder though how often we compromise on our commitments in favour of the "easy" option. When is it that we lose sight of what we created our business for? Is it at these times that we find ourselves in difficulty? Should we just simply remind ourselves of what we stand for and why we started out in the first place?

I often ask clients why they are in business as opposed to what do they want. Attempting to create a distinction between material goals and what those material goals will give them emotionally, we are more easily able to uncover the feelings that enable movement towards action.

As with the marathon runner, having self belief and commitment without the action, the preparation, the practice, the pounding of the miles out on the road, will not deliver the results you are looking for.

When I completed the London marathon some years ago I absolutely had the belief but I did not do the hard work, for a variety of reasons, and the end result? Yes I completed it, slowly. But I came in the bottom 5%. Is this the result you want? Do you want to be in the elite or come in much much later?

So, have a go certainly. Believe in yourself, definitely. Commit, without doubt. But make sure you know why you are doing what you are doing and stay focused on doing whatever it takes to keep your business ahead of the pack. With this level of commitment to action you surely will succeed!

To your success!

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Making the most of your FREE time

Many people say to me they never have enough time off.

As I sit here outside a shopping centre, waiting for my family to finish doing their thing, I find myself questioning how we define "time off" in the first place!

Last weekend I was enjoying the supportive environment of being with my mastermind group in San Francisco and we were discussing just this topic. Jack Canfield, our group leader, suggests that a FREE day is one where you are doing that which gives you energy and enables you to re-create, as in recreation, from midnight to midnight. It means not opening email, taking work related calls, doing your paperwork, accounts or other more "mundane" activities. It means taking care of yourself, nurturing your body and your mind, relaxing, sleeping, perhaps going to your favourite restaurant, beach, walking spot, getting a massage and so on.

For me, it means all these things and more. It doesn't mean shopping though. My daughter chastised me when I said I would wait in the car. For her, shopping is a real time off activity, and she felt I should want to traipse around the shops with her and enjoy it! No, for me I would rather sit in the car, listen to some relaxing music and just chill out for a couple of hours.

So, in fact my family are actually doing me a favour acting as "Dad's taxi" to take them to the shopping centre. I get to spend some time with myself and relax!

On that basis, despite not necessarily doing those nurturing things that I would perhaps prefer to do, I get to help my family enjoy their free day and I can also make the choice to make my day just as relaxing. By having respect for their preference, and having respect for my own choice, we all get to "win".

My tip then is simply this: make the choice that serves you even when it may seem that there is no choice. I could have chosen to be annoyed that I was having to spend my free time driving my family to the shopping centre, and being dragged in and out of shops I didn't want to be in, OR I could make my own choice and spend some time looking after me at the same time....

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Your Net Worth is directly related to your Network

It is said that your net worth is directly related to your network. The more people you know, the more successful you are. My experience is that this is absolutely true.

I remember my time in the corporate world and I actively avoided networking opportunities, unless it related to something I was particularly interested in such as cricket, football or other sports events. The whole idea of networking and meeting strange people in strange surroundings simply terrified me. Eventually I guess I got used to it but I always had the misconception that networking meant making small talk with people you probably had no real interest in at all.

Being in business for yourself though brings home the stark reality that networking is not only necessary, it is vital to your success. After all, how can you expect to promote your business and create success if you are not prepared to get out there and talk to people about it and how you can benefit prospective clients?

Actually networking is far more than simply trying to push your product or service onto everyone you meet. In fact, it is quite the opposite. It’s really about accessing your contacts’ contacts. It’s about positioning yourself and meeting people who can introduce you to others who you may be of service to you, or you to them. Beyond that, my experience is that the very best networkers are those that simply aim to introduce people to each other like you would if you were hosting a party, just to provide people with the opportunity to create a discussion, perhaps with a view that they may help each other.

Everyone I know who has a successful business has had to step up to the mark and get networking. You simply do not exist in business without marketing yourself and talking to other people.

Once I got to understand that my job was not to push my services but simply to facilitate people meeting people, I found that people started introducing me to people I wanted to meet. Starting from a position of serving others, my networking results improved.

There are many networking organisations and opportunities. My marketing coach advised “just get in the game” and this is what I found myself doing, networking anywhere and everywhere I could. It wasn’t long before I was able to simply approach people I didn’t know and say “hi” without worrying that they wouldn’t want to talk to me. In fact, they were often in the same position as me, wondering how to approach people and start a conversation so they were delighted to have someone come and up to them and start the process off.

So my Success Tips for effective networking are these:

Get in the game – Just do it. Network wherever you can.
Be of service – Act like a host not a guest waiting for someone else to introduce you.
Prepare – Work on your “elevator pitch” so that you confidently talk about your business concisely. Get clear about your Unique Selling Points and why people can refer you with confidence.
Be an active listener – Listen to the other person first and look for the opportunities to connect them with people they want to meet.
Set targets – Go to an event with a view to speaking to a certain amount of people. You cannot predict the result of making 3 new good contacts but you can create the result of talking to 10 new people.
Follow up – Always follow up. When you meet someone, call them and arrange a coffee some other time to continue the discussion further. You are highly unlikely to do business at the event so aim to call afterwards and arrange to meet.

If you want to know more about how to create success in business through networking then we’ll be happy to discuss that with you. You can contact us here

If you enjoyed this article feel free to share it with your friends and colleagues. If you would like to read previous Reflections and Success Tips click here and check out our blog.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Step Up to Success: It's Your Choice!

Simon Smith will be the keynote speaker at the next B4B networking event on 6th May 2008 at the Malone Lodge Hotel, Belfast...

It is said that successful people are those that do the things that unsuccessful people are unwilling to do.

In corporate life in particular, experience shows us that many people are in jobs they don’t want to be in, they don’t enjoy or they are simply unfulfilled. They’re bored, frustrated, tired, feel undervalued, not paid enough, work too hard, don’t have enough time etc etc.

So sack the boss!

Why would anyone live a life they were unhappy with?

Wake up and smell the coffee. This is no dress rehearsal. Get out and do something where you feel valued. Find a boss you do want to work for – someone who will treat you the way you want to be treated. Find someone who will value your contribution and thank you for being there.
If not, be your own boss. Create your own success. Stand by your own results!
It really is that simple. You really do have a choice.

If you want success, get out of the blame game and make a choice that serves you and those around you.

You only have one shot at life, so make the most of it. Take step towards taking 100% responsibility for your life today and see what difference it makes to your life tomorrow.

Step Up to Success: It really is your choice!

For further information and to book for this event visit

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Selling Yourself on Paper - Making Words Work

If you’re anything like me you would much rather have a face to face conversation to talk about your products or services than attempt to write about it. Putting pen to paper to make that all important “first impression” can be daunting to say the least.

For the perfectionists out there it can also be very time consuming, as we write and rewrite, before “sleeping on it”, procrastinating some more about publishing or sending the material, and eventually changing our mind completely and not bothering at all!

So, last week I was inspired by a presentation from a friend of mine who attempted to demystify the art of copywriting – making words work. In fact, before I got into business, I thought a copywriter was someone who applied to get your work “copyrighted” on your behalf!

Alan Morrow, from Quote Unquote, provided the audience with his very own “Success Tips” to “the art of creating meaning through words”. For my part I was perhaps more inspired, or educated, than Alan had intended because I realised that much of what he was saying could be applied to many other areas of our lives, not just writing sales copy.

So with very grateful thanks, Alan’s success tips on “the art of creating meaning through words” are:

Learn to listen [to the customer, the audience]

Plan. Plan. Plan. - Create a structure for your document, then write

Know who you are writing to - Visualize your audience then write as if you are speaking to them

Get to the point - People are short of time, and you're not the only one vying for it, so get to the point, and make sure it's crystal-clear.

Repetition is your friend - Tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them

Find an appropriate tone of voice - Know your audience, be formal or informal, engage your readers – use ‘you’, ‘we’

Keep it simple:

“From exploiting customer in-store wait time to migrating offline consumers to online channels, we can provide an innovative turnkey solution that delivers both customer insight and business results.”

which means

"We'll make sure your customers buy in your store or online. Every time. And you'll make more money."

Use short sentences

“Already Jones Construction have been involved with the project from the earliest conceptual design stages ensuring the design team have taken on board energy effective measures within the design seeking to create a leading sustainability addressing many issues.” (38 words, no punctuation).

which means

“Our design team has included energy saving measures within the building.”

Benefits, not features - Sell the heat, not the blanket. Explain what your service or product will do for the audience.

Use “which means that” to link features and benefits, e.g.

“Our Culture & Arts Strategy sets a programme for strong, sustainable development, which means that we will be able to engage artists, cultural workers and local communities with renewed vigour...”

Review your copy - Re-read, edit and simplify. Ask someone else to proof it

If you want to know more about how Alan Morrow can help you with your words contact him through

Friday, 1 February 2008

Step Up to Success event for the REC

The REC is a trade body supporting the recruitment industry.

Speaking at a regional event in Belfast last week, delegates got to hear how they can "Step Up to Success" and make 2008 their best year ever. (And why is it photographers like to have a "corny" photograph? No prizes for working out what he was trying to achieve ;o))

For more information about REC in Northern Ireland go to sponsored the event and demonstrated an innovative solution to supporting recruitment companies. Visit for more info.
If you need a speaker at your trade or networking event call our office at 028 9048 8673.

Book of the Month - Talking with Giants

As an Internationally acclaimed Speaker, Author and Success Expert, Scott has led the field in training others, presenting as a top professional speaker and executing the very success strategies he teaches. That’s the public face of Scott direct from his web profile...

Scott Schilling is one of the most genuine and generous people I have ever had the privilege to meet. His book has been created from a desire to be of service to others and when he talks about the project you can literally see this desire welling up in him.

The book itself provides incredible insights and inspiration through Scott’s interviews with “Giants” in their respective fields including Jack Canfield, Mark Victor-Hansen, Cynthia Kersey, Orrin Hudson, T. Harv Eker, John Dealey and Freddie Rick, to name just a few.

This is a must read for anyone serious about creating success in their life and making a difference in the world.

Buy it here now

What's work/life balance really all about?

Richard Branson said that there is no play or work, just living. So, if we are passionate about what we do, and we get excited about it every day, is there really a need to worry about work/life balance?

People regularly tell me they want to create more balance in their lives. They say they work too hard and don’t get enough time off. They don’t spend enough time with their family, don’t have days off, never take a holiday, get up early, go to bed late. It seems to be a constant battle to keep going.

I realised, after doing some “self-development” work with my coach and one of my mastermind groups, that whilst I love what I do, and am absolutely passionate about it, I might have been falling into a “trap” of pushing too hard in one area of life at the possible expense of another. For me, balance is not about work/life, but about the key areas of your whole life. This includes relationships with family and friends, fun and adventure, personal development, business, finance, toys and luxuries, contribution or service, health and fitness. The game of life is about having balance in all these areas so that no one area is suffering at the expense of success in another.

So, I asked myself “how can I create more balance as a whole” and then created goals, planned strategies and took action to make it happen. However, I also realised that planning balance and taking action was great and moved me forward, it was also very easy to allow myself to slip back into my old ways, the ways of my corporate career when everything in life then was about working hard, getting noticed, delivering results, being promoted, earning more money and bonuses, getting the new company car and so on.

It is so easy to work harder when things seem challenging and finding yourself spinning round in circles, beating yourself up when things don’t go the way you planned and then getting back on the roundabout of work, work, work, or rather, effort, effort, effort, losing sight of keeping balance in the other areas. This is the time when it is so important to keep our eye on the ball and allow ourselves to just take some time out to recharge, refocus and connect back with our energy.

I recall when I worked for a company many years ago, driving fork-lift trucks, moving their products around the site. We worked our machine solidly for 10 hours straight every day. The boss would say that the most important job of the day was to plug the fork-lift into it’s charger at the end of the shift, before we left. If this wasn’t done and we returned the following morning we would find no machine available and therefore no work, no money. The fork-lift, like us, needed to literally recharge it’s batteries to be able to function properly, or even at all, the next day.

So my success tips this week are:

  1. Review what you do and make sure that you are living your life in terms of living rather than work/life as if they are separate entities. They’re not.
  2. Look at where your balance is, or isn’t, and create some goals in those areas that you would like to improve.
  3. When things get tough, remind yourself that more “work” doesn’t necessarily mean better results.
  4. Take time to recharge your batteries and nurture your mind and body so that you can perform at your best every day.

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Monday, 21 January 2008

Jack Canfield's Key to Living the Law of Attraction

Practical tips beyond the teachings of The Secret, January 17, 2008
Mr. Peter S. Smith "Simon Smith www.simonsmit... (Belfast) - See all my reviews

Jack Canfield is the master of The Law of Attraction. He has applied it in his own life and teaches it to the world. Now with his new book he takes The Success Principles he has taught across the world and brings practical insight and tools into understanding of the Law of Attraction. Easy to read, easily understood and easily applied, I have no doubt that applying what Jack teaches will transform lives. Buy it, gift it, share it and talk about it, so that those people important to you don't miss out!

Thank you Jack for being such an inspiration and providing this book to us.

Action and Speed Creates Results

I was in Newport Beach last week meeting with my mastermind group and I was reminded how much of an impact having a great support and accountability process can help you achieve so much, so quickly.

Having reviewed our goals in the preceding couple of weeks, we arrived with great anticipation of more insight, learning and inspiration from Jack Canfield, our host, teacher and facilitator. By having us focusing on our goals for the coming twelve months Jack has quickly established a mechanism for measuring our success. We have stated our intentions and it is up to us to hold each other accountable to ensure we deliver on them.

One thing was made abundantly clear – action creates results, and if we hold the intention that anything is possible, then we will indeed take all the necessary action to reach our objectives. My view on this is that whilst I may not know “the how” at the moment in relation to some goals, getting clear on “the what” or even “the why”, will help me find small stepping stones towards what I want. Each stepping stone is then that much closer to the mountain.

Of course, just taking action does not immediately presuppose that we get the result we want. However, if we take onboard the feedback from our actions, we can correct our course and stay on target when things go a different way to that which is expected.

Taking action with speed sets successful entrepreneurs apart from those that dawdle, and therefore stay in mediocrity. In fact, the old perfectionist in me would have stopped myself taking any action at all in the past, based on the idea that it needs to be “perfect” before being started. In recent years I have come to realise that there is in fact no such thing as “perfectionism” - this is simply a convenient phrase to hide behind which allows us to sabotage our own efforts.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs have the edge in this regard. They can take action with speed, because they, unlike many larger organisations, can decide quickly and then move forward. The trick, of course, is to start small, test, measure and learn, and then continue if the strategy works.

So, my success tips this week are simply these:

1. Create focus on your goals and have them written down
2. Take action everyday towards your goals - small stepping stones to climb big mountains
3. Have a support process in place, be it a mastermind group, accountability buddy or a coach
4. Listen and learn from the feedback and correct your course when the unexpected shows up

Sunday, 6 January 2008

How do I get motivated?

I was prompted to respond to a question submitted in a forum I subscribe to about getting back into a state of motivation following the holiday. The person submitting the comment / question was looking for other experiences as they were finding it difficult to get back into “work mode” and get motivated to take action.

My experience is often similar after holidays and Christmas. This year is seemed to be even more difficult than usual.

To move through it I find that taking a couple of days to just "allow" myself to be in this zone of "no specific action", yet thinking / reflecting about the next few months (not even meditating, just allowing my thoughts to go wherever they take me during the course of the day), begins to move me closer to being in action.

After those couple of days I take one day to just update some goals, clear out old paperwork, throw away old to-do lists that probably won't get handled anyway. Just this act of creating some plans and tidying up leads me to a place where I am motivated to plan the next 2 days, by time not tasks, and I plan everything, even getting up, breaks and going to bed.

So, for example, the plan this holiday actually looked like this:

6 - Up
6.30 - Write sales letter
7.45 - Shower & breakfast
9 - Travel (listen to Jack Canfield CD)
10 - Car service (read Catherine Ponder book while waiting)
12 - Travel home (listen to HWnW interview CD)
1 - Client preparation for tomorrow (sandwich lunch)
3 - Write letters to clear up financial incompletes
3.30 - Call GW, ML, CD
4 - Gym
5 - Shower & break
6 - Email, sync iPOD for podcasts, back up laptop
7 - Mastermind (2) call
8 - Plan for tomorrow
8.30 - Client preparation
9 - Client preparation
10 - End of day review
10.30 - Bed

By planning like this, instead of by a to-do list, I am focused on the time, not the task, thereby less likely to use my own very efficient "avoidance tactics" and revert to "vegging out" in front of another great movie, and much more likely to be in action all day. The important thing for me is that even if some of the tasks don't get completed, I am being focused again on working activities and because it is time oriented I can not move a task somewhere else because there is no time allowed for that. I have effectively backed myself into a corner to stay on track.

One more day like this and I hit the sack exhausted but fully back into normality so to speak, so I can then allow myself to be less intense about the planning knowing I'm back to where I need / want to be.

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