Our blog has moved…

September 21, 2010

From now on, our blog will run directly through our website. The new address for the blog is http://blog.richardtyler.co.uk/

See you there…..



The 8 Lessons!

September 16, 2010

Life feels fairly hectic right now; articles to write, a new website to launch, our Speakeasy! workshop to run for the first time, my regular radio slot to prepare for, a couple of upcoming conferences to design, clients to see and….and…..and the other things in my life to live and do. It seems to offer up less time than I would like for gazing at the ceiling and simply…..thinking! I need that time to just think. Not long though. Too long and I get bored.

Not sure how I have managed to turn out a blog entry today with everything else to do. I think it must be my new found resolve to write in the blog at least once a week. Minimum! Once http://www.richardtyler.co.uk has launched, then all the new visitors will need some regularly updated pages and a hook to keep them returning for more…..so here it is.

Writing handouts for Speakeasy has forced me to look at how I speak in public – whether that is to a large group or 1:1. My experience as a speaker, tells me that if I transfer the skills I have across into other contexts within my life, I can establish and nurture even stronger relationships with others. So, I have created the 8 lessons. These are less about working with large groups and far more about how you connect with smaller groups and in less formal settings. Try these on for yourself and see what bounces back:

  1. Establish a connection with your listeners by schmoozing about the easy stuff before leaping into a difficult idea that makes you (and others) nervous. If you can make people laugh early on, so much the better.
  2. Make clear that the subject at hand does matter to you, but do keep in mind that, talking about a serious subject doesn’t require you to convey your message in heavy, morose tones. You can still keep it sounding light.
  3. Let others draw their own conclusions. If you address people in such a way that suggests that if they don’t agree with you they’re deeply misguided and may go straight to hell……you’ll lose them! You’ll also lose them if you go on for too long.
  4. Figure out when you can be spontaneous and wing it, and when to do your homework, prepare, and even rehearse.
  5. Meet people wherever they are. Yes, you can make the exact same point to your sister who is the director of the West London Gay and Lesbian Coalition and your friend who heads the Christian Association for Family Values, but you can’t make that point in exactly the same way. It doesn’t mean that you need to be a wishy-washy, accommodating chameleon and if you want to be heard, you must help others feel at ease.
  6. Treat every question and comment with respect. It never helps to shame people or make them feel stupid, even when they’re trying their best to wrong foot you!
  7. Don’t pretend to have all the answers. It’s fine to say, “That’s an interesting idea. I’ll think about that one.” People actually like it when you indicate that you’re human.
  8. You can’t make anybody hear you. Your daughter may be hanging on to your every word, or she may be fully absorbed in contemplating the magnolia walls or entertaining her own private thoughts. Your primary focus should be on what you want to say and how to best say it, rather than on needing a particular response from the other party.

Have fun with these. Test them out! Enjoy becoming a communication gymnast; flexible and agile.

Until the next time……

Woah! I am exhausted after a wonderful weekend with some dear friends of ours in London. It’s amazing really as we only met them last year on holiday in Mallorca. Both adults and kids connected and we stayed in touch and have been to stay with each other in Bournemouth and London. In a few weeks we will all get back together again for another week in Mallorca. Isn’t it amazing how by such a chance meeting can come such a good friendship? Anyway, I digress from my topic today. It is not about friendships and chance meetings but about the way in which we are so often taught to reciprocate and ‘pay someone back’ for what they have done.

I remember learning as a child about the need to ‘pay it back’ if they do something good for you. ‘Oh, how can I ever pay you back….?’ was frequently heard around me. Is there a flaw with this? Do we somehow get into a deal of where, in order to do something good for somebody else, we expect to be paid back for it? Or if someone does something for us, we need to reciprocate? Does this keep get us stuck in some kind of bargaining mechanism do you think? I have felt in the past, when people have done things for me, that I must find the equivalent value of gift (and by value, I mean time, effort, care, energy…..not just financial) to offer them in order for it to be equal or even. Sometimes this has got me, and the other person, into an uncomfortable game of ‘paying back’ which seems to go on and on……

I wonder what happens if you take on the notion of ‘Pay it forward’? So, let me explain. Instead of needing to pay it back, we invite the other person to pay it forward – take the good deed that I have done for you and pass another good deed onto someone else. I find that whenever I suggest this to someone, just after they have said, ‘what on earth can I ever do to pay you back?’, that instead of paying me back, they pay if forward, there is a moment of surprise and then delight at the notion of spreading the word and paying it forward. Suddenly new possibilities open up and our awareness of what we do for others and what others do for us seems to increase.

The “pay it forward” concept was popularized with the book Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde, which was later made into a movie with the same title. You really must go and watch it if you haven’t seen it. There is even a Pay if Forward Foundation which is encouraging children and adults to take on the concept and really create some ripples in the world. How quickly could we grow and change a culture with this simple idea?

Here are some ideas of how it works:

Be attentive wherever you are for opportunities to help someone. Perhaps you have an elderly or disabled neighbour who is too proud to ask for help with their yard work or maybe you’re in a restaurant and see someone who looks like they could use some kind stranger to pay for their meal. You can change people’s attitudes about the world through your unobtrusive acts of kindness…

Do something nice for someone you don’t know (or don’t know very well). It should be something significant, and not for a person from whom you expect a good deed – or anything at all, for that matter, in return.

Spread the word. If the person thanks you and wants to “repay” you (that is, pay it “back”), let them know that what you’d really like is for them to pay it “forward” – you’d like them to do something nice for three people they don’t know, and ask those three people to do something nice for three more people. The idea is to consciously increase the goodness of the world.

Pay it forward. When you notice that somebody has done something nice for you, make a note in your mind to practice three acts of kindness towards other people.

The people that I have explained ‘Pay it forward’ to have always taken to it with excitement as they begin to look for opportunities to pay it forward themselves. Tells others and see how great a role you can play in starting a revolution! Explain the concept to them and encourage them to take it and play with it. You will be amazed at what bounces back…..

Have a good day…


It’s a funny thing isn’t it, someone said the words ‘Surprise Surprise’ to me yesterday and I can’t hear that without then hearing the dulcet, Scouser tones of Cilla Black. That moment of sheer TV magic where she would be sat down with Fred and say, ‘Fred, you don’t know it, but your pet rabbit from 70 years ago, Alfie, well we’ve tracked him down and he’s here tonight, stuffed, and you can have a chance to say all those things you never got to say to him’ – enter Alfie the stuffed rabbit, everyones cries a bit, Fred is flabbergasted and Cilla sings a song! Classic Sunday night viewing. Aaaahhhhh…those were the days…..

Here she is...this is Cilla for those of you too young to remember!

Anyway, today I am not writing about Cilla, Fred or Alfie the rabbit. No, I am writing about the surprise I have when I listen to my clients telling me about their previous experiences of coaching. Let’s get one thing clear, I have my own style in working with people. I am proud of how I do what I do and want to celebrate my uniqueness. I recognise that some won’t like my style and will therefore be far more suited to working with other coaches. I like to laugh, be playful, swear occasionally, be provocative, challenging, honest, supportive and yet encouraging to make the change that they, are after all, seeing me for. I will adapt my style no end in order that my clients can get what they need. I will do a triple salto, naked if I really believe that it will challenge them to shift their own thinking.

I can hear you saying, ‘where’s the surprise?’ – the surprise is that with so many coaches and therapists out there rattling around in the system, more don’t choose to celebrate their uniqueness and, by doing so, offer their clients so much more. I frequently find myself hearing about peoples experiences of coaching that have gone on for many months with ZERO change and a coach that had so much empathy and understanding that they ended up colluding with the client. What is the result of that? A client that stays stuck doing the same old thinking and behaviours and getting the same old results. I see it like this, a client pays me a lot of money to help them bounce out of their old patterns and to get into some new ways of thinking and doing. Most clients are far more skilled in running their own patterns than we, as coaches, give them credit for – many derive some real benefits from behaving and thinking in that way and are, at some level, resistant to giving them up. Even more reason to nudge, challenge and be a provocateur! Hear something important though – being a provocative and challenging coach must always be done with empathy and with positive intent for the client. Remember, you want the client to find success, progression, development, new possibility….whatever it is they want.

So, there are actually 2 surprises for me! Firstly, the number of coaches that rely purely on listening, using the GROW model every session and asking a limited number of leading and closed questions – this can’t really be the way to instigate change and growth in people,can it? Secondly, the clients themselves that spend 8 months working with a coach and find that they are still stuck, doing the same old thing. How can this be a productive way to spend time or money?? However, many do so.

The world of coaching and personal development needs greater rigour around training. People should not get certificates purely for attendance and then be unleashed on clients, but for their competency to practice and develop themselves, as well as others. Change seems to be on the horizon with ICF guidelines beginning to make their mark. As coaches, we need to be constantly re visiting our skills and approach, celebrating our uniqueness, staying present and flexible whilst balancing empathy with challenge! If you have a coach, meet with them and understand what they will give you and what they expect you do to get the most from it. Ensure you have measurable outcomes. If it’s not working and there feels to be no progression, then don’t sit around waiting for it to end, be courageous and move on.

This wasn’t meant to be a rant yet it feels a bit like that. As you can see, I feel strongly that anyone I work with squeezes all they can from me and my time. I want them to want the change. If they don’t, it will rarely be a real success. I believe people can achieve great things, if they want it enough. I need to tickle their minds and shake things up a bit! Go out there and do the same.

It would be wrong not to let Cilla have the final say……..she normally did! Close your eyes, imagine that giant mouth that was overloaded with teeth and her shrill Liverpudlian voice…….

The more the world is changing
the more it stays the same
Life is full of small surprises
it’s a never ending game
If nothing is impossible
will you believe your eyes
If the unexpected brings a smile
that’s a big surprise

Surprise, surprise, the unexpected hits you between the eyes
The unpredictable, that’s the surprise you see, surprise! surprise!

Feline Fiasco!

May 20, 2010

The sun has been shining and it is beginning to get nicely warm. This can only mean one thing……..my shorts and my hair pin legs might be making a guest appearance in our garden very soon. Don’t all flock for tickets! You can probably pick some up on Ebay!

Myself and the girls have spent many hours, during the last few days, playing in the garden. We have a little oasis at the back of our house and Petra has worked really hard to make it look amazing; Mia has a little play area, we have a deck at the back and the whole space feels very rich and lush. Our cat, Tiger, also works extremely hard to ensure that the garden looks pretty……and errrrr…….restful……as she spends all day asleep in it!! Oh to be a cat!

Anyway, as we played yesterday, we noticed we had a visitor in our garden. There she is in the photo below. Let me introduce you to Sparks – our neighbour’s cat. Now, she is a very curious little thing. She is about 8 months old but has only been venturing out for the last few weeks or so and the world is the most incredibly exciting place for her. Her eyes shine bright and are almost popping out of her head as she works hard to take everything in. Her senses are working overtime as she absorbs the richness of her new surroundings. We watched her play yesterday and it was the funniest thing. You can almost see her giggle with the sheer excitement of everything that is new. I must add though, our own cat Tiger, is not quite so impressed. She is an older girl and not as nimble as Sparks. She flounces round the garden and collapses into a heap to take in a little more sunshine and rest her weary body. She is a feline Norma Desmond! On two occasions though she has shown Sparks who is boss in this neighbourhood and Sparks just springs off back to her own house….before returning 5 minutes later to play some more!

As I watched her wide eyes and her capacity to soak up the vibrant surroundings she was in, I wondered what it is that sometimes stops us humans having the same excitement and amazement at life. What might we find if we approached life with the same wonder and openness as Sparks does? How much more could we discover? What new opportunities might we create? How would our peripheral vision open up to reveal so much more?

When we get familiar and comfortable with our life, it is easy to get stuck in not seeing the magic and the wonder, don’t you think? We move from thing to thing, person to person, task to task and place to place often without opening up our senses to how truly rich and wonderful it is. Even when life is hard and throwing challenges our way, by opening up our eyes and embracing it, we can begin to hold it differently and generate more options for changing it and shaping it, to the way we want.

So, go and spend a day like Sparks; be open to the richness, play more, explore, embrace it like it is the first time……..just don’t go and pee in your neighbours garden!

Movie mania!

May 13, 2010

I waited….looked around me……hunting to find any kind of signal that it was my go next…….was someone going to introduce me……my mind seemed somewhat blank and empty……this was probably not the best state to be in for the speech of my life. Well, at 17, the speech of my life so far! Oh! There it is, ‘And now, please give a warm welcome to the best man, Richard’. Shit!!! What happens if no one laughs at my gags, only at me??! Too late now, you said yes to your brother, so…………..this must have happened in a flash yet it felt like I had a battle with myself for an hour or so. Wrangling over whether I should or shouldn’t, could or couldn’t, must or must not……..A small voice kicked in, Get up off your backside and do your stuff. Fortunately it was my own voice and my body duly responded……the rest is history!

Many many people have a similar experience in their lives. Some are just plain greedy and have this kind of response daily! I was lucky. Something kicked in that meant I got up and did it. What’s more, I had a blast! I loved every moment of it. The more I had fun, the better I got, the more they laughed and listened……the more fun I had…and the better I got……it tends to go in that circle for us doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it also goes in the same circle with our negative chatter. We can very easily notice when something isn’t working the way we want it to, we begin to doubt ourselves, question our ability, notice that people really aren’t listening or engaged, it must be me, I’m no good….and so we can spiral down into a dark place.

There is much research to show us that even the notion of public speaking is enough to give many people the eebie jeebies! As a phobia, it sits right up there among the top ones. Whether it be speaking to new people at parties, doing the whole ‘small talk’ thing in meetings, contributing to a discussion or speaking to a large audience, it can wrong foot the most confident of people. I have many people that walk in through my therapy room doors that, at first meeting, can appear uber-confident; present and with presence. Yet when they begin to tell their story, it is so often one of being locked in a world of fear when it comes to speaking out, speaking up or just plain speaking! For many, they can recall a vivid memory when something happened along the journey that taught them to respond in this way. They learnt to do it this way. They practiced it religiously and have achieved self mastery in ‘doing it’ this way. Can you help me? Will it always be like this? Is it just who I am, they ask? Look, I say, if you have learnt to respond in this way, together we can help you learn some new and better ways to respond. I have seen grown men cry with relief knowing that they can release themselves from this dark, uncomfortable and traumatic part of their life.

Take a moment to reflect. Ask yourself the following few questions:

  1. How comfortable are you speaking in front of others?
  2. In what situations do you feel any anxiety with regard to speaking in front of people?
  3. Rate how anxious you feel on a 0-10 (10 being extreme fear and anxiety)
  4. At what point does your anxiety kick in?
  5. What is the trigger?
  6. What do you think other people notice when you are in this state?
  7. What would need to happen for you to feel calm and in control?

How many times have you been to see a film at the cinema or watched a DVD and found it to be so gut wrenchingly RUBBISH that you are compelled to leave the cinema or switch over the TV?! Many people have at some point or other. So, would you then consider going out to buy that very same movie and watch it over and over and over again…..??! No, of course not! Most of the people I meet have stored their experience of speaking in public as a dark, fear inducing horror movie – one that they really don’t want to watch again! However, what do you think it is that they end up doing? You guessed it, watching it over and over and over again….to the point where they can describe it in graphic detail. In fact they are so familiar with it, it is all that they watch in the theatre of their mind. They take on the lead character of the movie and act it out for themselves. So much so, that even when pressed on the question of how they want things to be different next time, all they can recall is the terrible movie they star in and how much they Don’t want it to happen! Of course, I know and they know, it just keeps on happening that way.

So, as a starter, getting the movie that they Do want to happen, is a pretty good place to begin eh?

How about you settle yourself down right now and begin by creating your very own movie. Follow through the steps below a few times and you will begin to feel more comfortable and confident with the process. The more you practice it, the more you will reap the benefits of your movie!

Step 1. Settle yourself somewhere really comfortable where you can fully relax and will be undisturbed for 15 minutes or so. Phones on silent! Make sure you have a pen and a piece of paper nearby as you will need this when you are finished.

Step 2. In your own time, take a really deep breathe in and, as you exhale, just allow your eyes to become comfortably closed….let your body melt and become fully relaxed. You know how that feels – where every drop of tension is released from your body and mind. Just let that happen until you are able to become fully aware of your deep, slow breathes……..aaaahhhhhhhhhhhh

Step 3. Now that you are fully relaxed and settled within your body and mind, begin to imagine a large movie screen in front of you. Really see the dimensions of this screen in front of you. For now there is no image.

Step 4. I want you to now bring up an image of yourself on the screen. Make the image in front of you bright and vivid. Of course, you are able to make this movie brighter, sharper, more in focus, louder, in fact, you are in total control of how this movie looks and its plot! Enjoy that experience of knowing how easy it is for you to make any changes.

Step 5. Now, give this image of you some context. This is going to be the movie of you speaking confidently, being compelling, seducing people in to listen to you. Notice who else is in the movie. Notice how bright the colours are. Pay real attention to how you are moving and how you relate to others. It looks good doesn’t it? Notice how you begin to want to step in and be that person. Turn the volume up so as you can hear a clear, resonant voice – one that people connect with. REMEMBER – this is your movie and you can make any tweaks and changes that you want to it.

Step 6. Continue running this sequence through, each time making it brighter and more real. Notice the small detail about how you are doing what you are doing in this new movie of you. That detail will be the foundation of how you are able to turn this movie into reality.

Step 7. Before you step into the movie and become the star of the film, take a moment to notice any inner chatter that might be fuelling the image of you that you are seeing. How might the voice in your head be enhancing your confidence? What positive and progressive message lay behind the action. These are important as they will drive the behaviour and ensure congruency. Notice how the inner chatter is encouraging and how the tone of voice nurtures you……

Step 8. By now, you will be ready to step on up into the movie and take on that role right? So, go on. Notice the few steps that lead you up and into the film. In your own time, step on in……..you see, the moment that you really step in, really commit, then you can also play out that role. Pay attention to how different this feels. Become aware of how YOU can do all of those things that you have just observed yourself doing. Notice how it feels to move that way, notice what it is like now that you are engaging people and, do you know what, they are listening! They are connecting with you. You are connecting with them. Pay attention to that inner chatter that now soothes, encourages and compels you to do more.

Step 9. Really enjoy being there now. Keep running this through in your mind and each time that you do, just allow it to become that bit more real and vivid. Feel it in the muscle.

Step 10. In a moment, I want you to open your eyes and reach for your pen and paper that is nearby. Before you do, seize all your learning’s and insights from this session and get ready to bring them with you. You can go back to this movie anytime you want. Each time you do you will enhance it so as it becomes more compelling and real. Watch it often. Continue to remind yourself how good that felt and how easily you slipped into that role. So much so, that you can begin to create it for others to share in too.

Step 11. Open your eyes. Have a stretch and a yawn. Feels good doesn’t it? Get your pen and paper and note down some answers to the following questions:

What it was that you were doing differently; how you moved, stood, engaged, made eye contact?

How did that feel different?

How did your voice sound to you? Describe it?

When we are rooted and confident, so that reflects in our voice. Your voice will have had greater resonance.

What words would others have used to describe your voice?

Give the movie a memorable name! Something that will remind you just how good you are.

What inner chatter was encouraging you?

So, what can you do right now that will bring that movie back to life? Yes, right now. Go and create some action. Motion creates emotion. You are already starting to break the habitual pattern of that old movie and replacing it with your new one. You can lock in that new movie very quickly if you want to, can’t you?

For the next 7 days, I want you to do one thing differently everyday that will reinforce your new movie; the new you that is a confident speaker. Find something that is a good stretch (a little discomfort will serve you well, honestly….) and go and do it. Then, share it with someone, tell them what you did and tell them what you noticed. It might be striking up a conversation with a stranger, contributing at a meeting, giving some feedback to a colleague, speaking with a larger group. Whatever it is, you will be changing yourself and living out of your new movie. Enjoy it. This is just the beginning……..

……he said, shouting into my ears at a deafening volume! Accompanied with a loud clap in my face, I almost fell off my chair! For those of you that travel around London on the tube, you may be fooled into thinking that this was an experience I had on a Northern Line train! No, far from it. It was planned AND it worked.

I spent the weekend on my Clinical Hypnotherapy module where we looked at various CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) approaches. This, believe it or not, is one of them. Let me explain more. How many of you talk to yourselves? Oh come on, don’t give me that look like I am the freak here. It’s you that’s reading a personal development blog! Yes, I chatter away to myself much of the time. Fortunately, much of it remains in my head; directives on things to do, not do, should’s, shouldn’t’s, choices, uncertainties, worries, excitements….yes, a big old pot of conversation stirs around in my head. My guess would be, that it does in your head too. Often referred to as inner dialogue or inner chatter, it can be a hugely influential voice and guide to the decisions and choices we make in life. It may be the catalyst for many great things you achieve; when you get that nudge that says, “oh f*&k it, just get on with it, you know you can” Ever have that? It can push us and encourage us to achieve wonderful things. It can also be the voice that limits us, cripples us and destroys opportunities.

There is a CBT technique called thought blocking. I want to share it with you today. It is a powerful, proven and empirically researched method for interrupting those negative thoughts that we allow to become habitual. Here’s what I want you to do:

  1. Settle yourself somewhere really comfortable where you can fully relax and will be undisturbed for 15 minutes or so. Phones on silent!
  2. In your own time, take a really deep breathe in and, as you exhale, just allow your eyes to become comfortably closed….let your body melt and become fully relaxed. You know how that feels – where every drop of tension is released from your body and mind. Just let that happen until you are able to become fully aware of your deep, slow breathes….aaaahhhhhhhh Do what ever it is you do that allows you to be transported to a place of calm focus.
  3. Take a moment to think of a thought that you keep repeating to yourself that STOPS you achieving or doing something that you want in your life. What exactly is it that you say to yourself? Say it to yourself now. What words do you use? Consider the tone of voice with which you give that message – is it aggressive, challenging, critical? How loud is the voice? How sharp? Just play through the scenario in your mind of the thought you have and the context with which it is set. For instance, ‘I begin to walk down the corridor towards the meeting room and my anticipation builds. I grip the door handle tight and push it open. As soon as I see all the people in the room, I begin to think………..’
  4. Take a moment to blank your screen out. I want you to think about what might be a more enabling, encouraging and progressive thought to have. What thought could you have instead that would change the outcome to something that you want. Remember, your old thought didn’t get you what you wanted, yet you continued to do it as your unconscious mind fed you the cue and it had become a learnt response. What thought would serve you better?
  5. Blank your screen out again. Just be sure that the old negative thought is one that you want to get rid of. Sure? Good.
  6. Here come’s the fun bit (!) – mentally play through the scenario in your mind, ‘I begin to walk down the corridor towards the meeting room and my anticipation builds. I grip the door handle tight and push it open. As soon as I see all the people in the room, I begin to think………..’ Just at that moment, I want you to say to yourself, in a loud, commanding voice, STOP! Give it some wellie and some meaning. Imagine a bright red flashing sign just in front of your face displaying the letters STOP! Imagine the sound of your hands clapping loudly together t the same time. Well done, you have just interrupted that old negative thought pattern of yours.
  7. Take a moment to breathe deeply and now say to yourself the new, progressive, positive thought. Give it the tone of voice that is likely to appeal to you. You know, one that will encourage you to go and do what it is you want as your new outcome.
  8. Now, I want you to repeat steps 6 and 7 over and over again. Do it at least 5 times as then you will find it so firmly embedded in your mind that you will be unable to run that old thought again without hearing yourself shout STOP!, clapping noises and red flashing lights! You will find this is enough to break that old thought and replace it with your new, positive thought.
  9. Take a deep breathe and blank the screen again. Now imagine a time in the future when you will be in that scenario again. Now mentally rehearse the new sequence of events, thoughts and behaviours. Make the image vivid, bright and real. Do this a couple of times. Notice now how your emotional response to the negative thought has changed, hasn’t it?
  10. Good. Take a few deep breathes and get ready to open your eyes.

Thought blocking is a powerful, and often under used approach to interrupting those negative thoughts and voices that we find living in our heads. So go on, banish them today. Go and play with this. If you work through the process diligently and then go and practice it everyday, you will say au revoir to those old thoughts in an instant.

Have fun!



March 21, 2010

……for those of you that are hunting out the anagram in the heading…there isn’t one! The word ‘Manawa’ is one of the 7 Huna principles and it means Now is the moment of power. The second that has just passed by is history and yet the one just about to arrive is not actually here so therefore, our power exists in this moment. Right here, right now.

A powerful thought huh? Go on, take a moment to really consider it…..Now is the moment of power. What does that mean to you? How many moments in any given day do you stop, focus on the here and now and really indulge in whatever is in front of you?? I can so easily get seduced by the phone, emails, twitter, facebook, texting, human interaction (some of you are saying, ‘eh, what’s that?’) and generally the rush of life that means I flit from one thing to another, often without pausing for thought and really focussing on what is in front of me right now. I mean REALLY focussing!

Why am I writing about this today? Bournemouth was basking in glorious sunshine this morning and me and the girls had ventured out into the garden. My wife showed me the giant pile of compost that needs to be sorted and sifted for stones (not good for the veggies that we intend to grow in it apparently). What?? We need to sort all that for stones? I began with some reluctance, only seduced at the notion of being outside with the girls. After 20 minutes or so, I became fascinated though…fixated…..hooked on the tiniest detail in every moment. Each stone looked different and told a story. The family of worms and all the other tiny creatures that were scurrying around seemed to tell a tale of life at the bottom of our garden. Being totally aware of the texture between my fingers, the bitterly cold soil running through my hands, the smell of the damp leaves rotting down and the soil squelching under my boots gripped me and drew me into that very moment. I heard my wife call from the house, ‘you don’t have to stay out there all day you know’. I didn’t intend to, and yet I suddenly became acutely aware of how little time I spend right here, right now and fully present with whatever is in front of me.

I intend to do just that from now on. It won’t be sifting compost for stones every day but it will be something that grabs my attention and challenges me to notice that now is the moment of power.

I wonder what it might be for you? I wonder what you might get out of making the time to REALLY focus on what is in front of you….notice the smell, the taste, the texture, the sound and the sensation. Take it as a moment of peace. Store it. In this fast moving world it will be your small haven. Manawa……….

Well well……..you’re not are you?? I hope not! After all, that would be pretty crazy right, having just told you NOT to??!

The theme for today is nothing new. Booooooo, I hear you say. ‘We want new!!!’ Well, this is an old favourite and one that never seems to tire. One that, how ever many times people hear about it, they still seem to slip into the old pattern.

You can picture the scene right, sitting down in a quiet restaurant, maybe a bit of romance is in the air. Other people are sitting at their tables, indulging in their meals and some deep and heavy chatter. Suddenly, in walks……..the lady with the Pink Poodle tucked under her arm. Not only does she have a pink poodle, red hair and an orange dress on, she appears to have a speaking voice that is only audible to the canine world! You stop in horror, splutter on your wine and say, subtly to your dinner guest, ‘errrrrr, DON”T LOOK OVER YOUR SHOULDER NOW………….I said, DON”T look over your shoulder now!’ It’s too late. They’ve not only looked….and laughed…but so have the others in the restaurant. You may well have experienced this too huh?

So, you know what I’m saying. By focusing on what we DON”T want, low and behold, it seems to happen and we seem to get it. Research carried out on those that are masters as setting themselves outcomes and making them a reality, speak clearly of the need to voice their outcome and their desires in the positive. Thereby making them vivid, bold and enabling themselves to go out and carve that outcome.

I remember a client that was fixated on his outcome to stop feeling stressed and overwhelmed. So, how do you think he felt most of the time?? Yep. You got it! Stressed and overwhelmed. By asking him the question, ‘So, when you have finally got rid of that feeling of being stressed and overwhelmed, how will you feel?’ His reply, ‘well, calm and in control’. A different outcome don’t you agree?

God damn it, it’s not rocket science. However, it does require you consciously shaping your outcomes into something positive and that is focussed on what you DO want rather than what you don’t!

So, go on, notice the outcomes you set for yourself today or some of those bigger outcomes in your life. How do you currently hold them? Tweak them. Shape them. Sculpt them. Then, watch how much easier it is for you to make them a reality.

Short one today! Off to trim the poodle……..so to speak…….

Greetings one and all. It has been a wee while since I last blogged so thought I had better get my backside moving and put some more thoughts out there!

We are on half term this week which brings an abundance of delight and a dollop of additional challenge! All 3 of us tripping over each others feet…..possibly something to do with having to sing and dance to Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for what feels like ALL day EVERY day! However, in moments of our iPod being switched off, I have noticed some interesting things happening…….you will have them noticed them in your own family too I would guess. If not, look closer and pay extra special attention……

My almost 5 year old daughter has been struck by the ‘I can’t’ bug and it is really dragging her down. ‘Oh that’s it, it’s pointless, I can’t read any of this book………..oh no…and see…….I can’t even colour in the lines……oooohhhhhhhhh….I can’t do anything….!!’ Know the kind of thing eh? See it around you too? Not only at home is it lurking out there, but it’s in the workplace too. It seems to get everywhere.

So, I hear some of you asking is this really a problem?? Well, I think it can be. It limits choice and the the belief implied is exactly as it says, ‘I can’t….’ This gives little option for things to be any different. It keeps us stuck! Fritz Perls, (now he was a clever fellow) was an eminent psychotherapist and his work is still used as a basis for many therapeutic interventions and models for communication. He had a saying whenever he heard someone say ‘I cant’ which was, ‘Don’t say I can’t, say I won’t’ What this does is take the person from having no choice to having choice. As soon as someone says I won’t, they take responsibility and choice into there own hands. The fact is, my daughter can read and can colour within the lines, maybe not as brilliantly as she might desire.

So, when you hear someone around you that says, ‘I can’t’ ask them a question or two that could free them up to notice some additional options. ‘Has there ever been a time when you could…..?’, ‘What would it be like if you could do it…..how might your action change right now?’ Share the Fritz Perls quote and see what happens when they turn ‘I can’t’ into ‘I won’t’.

Like any challenge that you present to people, deliver it with care, respect and with good intention. Think about your tone of voice as you ask it. I have seen people ask that question of others and have asked in such a ‘muddy’ way that the other person wanted to beat them round the head with a blunt instrument!

Well, back to half term now and my turn to play Pharoah I think….lucky me!