Uncommon Courtesy!

Common courtesy: we all know what it is, and we all know how it makes us feel when we receive it. And how we feel when we don’t – that person walking in front of you and not holding the door open, someone who doesn’t say, ‘thank you’, when you hold if for them, and the frustrating task of trying to have a conversation with someone who is texting. That last comment about mobile phones might cause some to roll their eyes – modern technology is of course invaluable when it comes to running a business, but, in today’s society where everybody is so busy looking down, and a huge percentage of businesses are conducted online, has common courtesy become, uncommon?

A friend of my wife was complaining about this very subject just the other evening. She had purchased an expensive custom-made dress online for her daughter’s prom and was becoming increasingly frustrated with the customer service she had been receiving. Initially when the date she was expecting the dress to arrive came and went, she gave the lady the benefit of the doubt. The prom was a few weeks away anyway and a one-off hand-made piece would surely be worth the wait. Besides, the seller was bound to drop her a message with an apology and a renewed delivery date in due course. A week later, nothing. No dress, no apology, no contact from the seller at all.

So she sent the lady a polite email, explaining that she hadn’t yet received the dress she had paid for, and did she have any idea when it would arrive. She was shocked to receive quite a brusque reply a day or two later, stating that ‘custom made designs are time consuming and can run into unexpected delays, so please be patient.’ No, ‘sorry’, and no explanation of what these ‘unexpected delays’ entailed or if anything was being done to resolve the situation.

With the prom night fast approaching and another fortnight gone by with no dress or explanation in sight, my wife’s friend ended up contacting the seller to cancel her order and buying her daughter a dress from a store. It took several emails and the threat of a negative review on the seller’s business page to get even a partial refund. ‘Never again,’ she vowed, would she buy something from someone selling online.

Conversely, another friend had to return a tie she had ordered online for her grandfather when it arrived, in the promised time frame, after he had sadly died. Not only did she receive her refund in a timely fashion, she also received a card of condolence in the post. This small, courteous gesture resulted in her ordering gifts for friends and family from said company over the following year, singing their praises to all, and the company earning a loyal, repeat customer.

The prevalence of mobile phones and social media in today’s society often have a lot to answer for. On the one hand they can be incredibly useful tools, allowing you to run your business and keep on top of things on the go, wherever you are, while reminding you have the dentist at 4 and that you need to pick up the cat’s medication at the same time. But, on the other hand, there are few things more frustrating than trying to conduct a meeting about business (or even a social meeting for that matter) with someone who can’t stop looking at the bloody thing every 5 seconds.

Turn it off. Put it on silent. Leave it in your pocket. The second it’s on the table vibrating and buzzing away, my companion’s eyes flickering towards the busy screen like a moth drawn to a flame, it tells me one thing: that whatever or whoever you are waiting for on that phone has more of your attention than me and what I have to say. And that is not courteous.

When it comes to your own business it’s never a bad thing to review your customer service, and you’ll often find that those who go above and beyond in that area are rewarded with more contacts, more referrals, more repeat customers. And that’s what we all want, isn’t it?

● Paying Attention To Names – It sounds obvious, but when it comes to networking and building a customer base, remembering someone’s name can be vital. It proves you have engaged fully with that person and have listened to what they have to say. If you don’t hear them the first time, or if you are unsure how to pronounce it, be honest and ask. It shows you have taken an interest in them and care about getting it right. If remembering names isn’t your forte try to repeat it several times throughout the conversation to help commit it to memory – just not so often that you sound a bit creepy!

● Greetings – This sounds like an obvious one, but whether it be in person, over the phone, or via email, everyone likes to receive a friendly, ‘hello, how are you?/I hope you are well’. It establishes rapport as well as being polite, and it will make people remember you as a friendly individual.

● Handshakes and Eye Contact – If you are meeting with someone in person, a handshake is the universal business greeting, and coupled with eye contact and a smile gives a positive first impression of someone who is engaging and honest.

● Handwritten Notes – This particularly applies if you run a business where you might be sending products out to customers who have ordered online. A ‘thank you’ email is nice, however, isn’t seen as personal a gesture as something customised and handwritten. This is especially important if it is to a repeat customer or a large account. It may take a little more of your time than firing off a quick email, and you’ll have to pay postage, but you only have to read my story about the friend who had to return the tie to see how it could benefit your business in the long run.

● Check for Grammar Mistakes and Typos – Again, this sounds obvious, but if you are running a business then chances are you spend a lot of time communicating through emails. Take a few seconds to properly proofread each one before you press send. It could be the difference between looking professional and courteous or sloppy and uninterested.

● Being on Time – This one is so, so, important. In today’s society where everybody’s rushing around and time is such a precious commodity, punctuality is critical. Whether it be arriving on time for a meeting, ensuring that package gets to the customer when you said it would, or meeting that deadline; future orders, referrals, and recommendations will depend on it. Say What You Do, Do What You Say!

● Put Away Your Phone – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the mobile phone has all but killed common courtesy in most social situations – don’t let it affect your business too! Of course your phone is essential when it comes to running your business, but it is impossible to give someone your full attention when you are distracted by your phone. So put it away. Honestly, that text/email/Twitter notification can wait. There is no substitute for human interaction.

● Complaining – In a word, don’t. There are always going to be bad days in business or things that go wrong, but if you start complaining to customers about it all going wrong and how unfair it all is it will put you into a negative mind set, and that won’t help. Customers won’t want to hear what’s gone wrong or why, even if it is the reason why they aren’t receiving their order on time, or can’t order that product today. Instead it is much more productive to think of solutions to the problem and let them know how you are about to resolve the issue – preferably with a ‘Sorry for the delay, we really appreciate your custom and patience’.

You might be thinking that you already follow all those rules, and that uncommon courtesy doesn’t apply to you or your business. But let’s face it, in today’s fast-paced world, where the next big business is nipping at your heels, it doesn’t hurt to make sure that YOURS stands out as the politest in the industry. Your customers will thank you for it by coming back again and again.

Do It Now!

Watch the video version just here…

Growth or Fixed Mindset?

When I was growing up I had a friend called Ben. He was one of them kids who seemed to have been born under a lucky star. You know the type; always picked as captain when we played football, always got good grades, and had loads of mates. As we grew up he was the first one of us to drive, buy a house, and get a job, which as time went on turned into his own amazingly well-paid business, followed by another bigger business. Within a couple of years he had bought an even bigger house with his beautiful wife, and a flash car. You know how it goes – in fact, you probably know a ‘Ben’ yourself; someone who oozes confidence, tries their hand at anything, and never seems to fail, he was the Golden Boy!.

If truth be told it cheesed a lot of his mates off, especially Josh. Josh was the anti-Ben; lacking in any self belief, convinced he would fail at everything before he even tried, and constantly moaning about Ben’s achievements compared to his own – “It’s alright for him”, “Some people have all the luck”, “Why doesn’t that sort of stuff happen to me?”

The assumption that some people are just lucky and others aren’t is a dangerous one. It leads to complacency and resignation. The reason Ben achieved highly in all areas of his life and Josh didn’t was down to mindset. Ben always believed he could do it if he tried, he wasn’t afraid to learn new things, he wasn’t scared of new experiences, he strived, and worked hard. In short, he believed he could do anything he set his mind to. Josh didn’t. Josh believed his own limitations – limitations he himself had set. This is what is known as a Fixed Mindset.

People with a fixed mindset believe that whatever qualities they have are fixed traits that cannot be changed. If you are a ‘Josh’, you will believe that it is Ben’s natural talents alone that have got him where he is today, and that effort was not required. Do you have a fixed mindset? Here are some of the signs:

  • You believe that your basic abilities and talents are fixed traits
  • You have a fear of looking dumb – this holds you back from trying new things, you are worried about others’ perceptions of you
  • You want to appear intelligent, but you believe that your intelligence is fixed and cannot be modified

Can you see how closed that mindset is? It’s boxing you in and stopping you from achieving what is easily within your reach. Your own mind is what is stopping you; so change it. Now.

Ben had a Growth Mindset; an underlying belief that effort on his part would lead to success, that he could grow smarter with time and experience. He put in the extra time – football practice, extra driving lessons, school work, and in time applied those rules to his personal and work life. Do you have a growth mindset?

  • You believe that your abilities and intelligence can be developed with learning, effort, and persistence
  • You believe everyone can become smarter and more accomplished if they try
  • You believe that basic abilities are a starting point for potential

If you have identified yourself as having a fixed mindset it means your fixed beliefs about yourself are holding you back from positive change. It means you probably avoid situations where those traits that you think are fixed (intelligence, your weight, a bad habit) could cause you to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.

So, how can you create a growth mindset? Here are some tips to help you.

  • Acknowledge and Embrace Your Weaknesses – we all have them, but knowing what they are means you can change them. Create specific habits to tackle your limitations head on. Make modest goals and give yourself a set time to accomplish them. Be honest about your limitations and it will help you to form the belief that you are 100% capable of changing them and accomplishing any major goal.
  • View Challenges as Opportunities – The more we challenge ourselves the more opportunities we have to learn about ourselves. Don’t use excuses to stay in your comfort zone – accept that new job offer, call that new contact you’ve been meaning to all week, and see the opportunities open up before your very eyes.
  • Use The Right Learning Strategies For YOU – There are various styles of learning, and they aren’t all right for everyone. Maybe you are a visual learner and need to spend hours watching YouTube tutorials, or maybe reading articles works for you. Perhaps you are someone who needs to learn as part of a group, or maybe learning alone is the best way for your brain to soak up the information. When you know what works best for you, you can get better at studying, and your knowledge will begin to expand. 
  • Remember Your Brain Changes Throughout Your Life – Be aware that your brain is constantly changing and it will help you to adopt a growth mindset. Your brain is constantly forming new connections allowing it to make adjustments when you are faced with new situations. 
  • Prioritise Learning Over Seeking Approval – Don’t worry about what others think of you, focus on bettering yourself for your own benefit.
  • Work With Purpose – Always work with purpose so that you have the motivation to keep working. Ask yourself on a regular basis what is the purpose of the work you are doing. Do you just enjoy it, or is it part of a bigger goal? 
  • Learn to Receive Constructive Criticism – Think of criticism as a way to learn. It makes you aware of your faults so that you can focus on improving them. Don’t take constructive criticism personally; often people are trying to help rather than trying to cut you down. 
  • Need For Improvement Does Not Equal Failure – Needing to improve doesn’t mean you have failed. It just means you are not quite there yet.
  • Learning is “Brain Training” – The more you learn, the more you are training your brain to act a certain way and make various connections. It is vital to be open to the idea of manipulating your brain to keep up with current trends as the world evolves and changes.
  • Develop a Gritty Attitude – If you have passion for what you are doing it will give you the perseverance to see it though. If you want to be successful in your field having a deep interest in your work is one of the most important things to keep you motivated each day. If you want to accomplish your long-term goals, you have to have the ‘grit’ to keep you on track and make it happen.
  • Never Stop Learning – Growth-minded people continue to create new goals so that they stay motivated and interested. Never stop learning! Set a new goal for every goal you accomplish – that is the secret of a growth mindset.
  • Remember That it Will Take Time – Nothing worth doing comes quickly and easily, so be realistic about how long it will take to learn the information you are interested in and to achieve your goals. You might have to try several different learning methods, or keep trying new techniques until something sticks – but stay focused on the process. 

Anyone can develop a growth mindset, you just have to be willing and committed to changing your beliefs about what you are able to do. Do not stay in your little box where you were born with all the talents and abilities you will ever have – break out and grow! Take action to learn and stay motivated and focus on how it will benefit you in the long run to achieve more success throughout your life.

If you’ve found yourself stuck in life, it could be that a fixed mindset is what’s holding you back. The mind is a hugely powerful thing, and allowing it to grow could see you soon achieving more success throughout all avenues of your life.

Do It Now!

When All Roads Lead to Procrastination

Years ago, a good friend of mine was commissioned to write an article for a mate’s website. He had been given quite a tight deadline, but it wasn’t a particularly long piece, and he was very familiar with the industry in question, so he figured it would require minimum research and it would be a doddle to write. He could bang it out in half an hour. Job done!

This delusion lead him to putting the project on the back burner, and everytime it popped to the front of his brain he pushed it back. His mentality seemed to be, ‘I’ll do that later, it’ll take no time at all.’ Several times when I spoke to him he mentioned getting the laptop out to start it, but he said he just couldn’t get in the right headspace – normally he would spend a few days rolling the subject matter around in his mind, letting it pick up momentum as it went; maybe even make a few notes. But this time he hadn’t, he reckoned there was no need because it would be so easy to do, so quick to write, and besides there was something he wanted to watch on telly, so no point in doing it right now. And that’s how it went all week. And the next week. Every time I spoke to him he had something negative to say about starting the project; it just wasn’t work that he felt inspired to do, he’d had to go out all day Saturday, one of the kids was sick.

The day before the deadline date he finally bashed out the article, and when I saw him he was ridiculously smug and confident that his mate would love every word of it. ‘Easiest money I’ve ever made,’ he said. He reckoned he was bound to get work from the friend’s contacts who worked in the same field, and was already anticipating his friend commissioning him to write more articles.

Within about an hour of that conversation, the guy who owned the website had emailed him. He had got the tone of the article totally wrong. He had mentioned equipment that was no longer industry standard, and one of the women he referenced throughout hadn’t won a title in about 10 years; in fact, it was unlikely that any of the guy’s current client base would even know who she was. He hadn’t read the brief properly. He hadn’t researched. He hadn’t cared. He’d been focusing on other things.

He sat up until about 1am redoing that article, and when he resent it all he got back was, ‘thank you’. No glowing feedback. No, ‘I’ll be in touch about writing something else’. Not even a, ‘I’ve passed your details onto my friend..’.

You’ll be unsurprised to learn that the last-minute article was far from his best work. It was factually correct, yes, and included all the information he had been asked for, but it had no life, no sparkle. The main issue here was his mindset.

How many times have you thought, ‘that’ll do’, or ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’? Stop. And do it NOW. Properly. Procrastination will literally get you nowhere because it has no driving force. You might as well be behind the wheel of a car with an empty petrol tank. There are various different types of procrastination, and we have all fallen foul of one type at one time or another. Do any of these scenarios ring a bell?:

  • Anxious procrastination – Does what is says on the tin to be honest; procrastinating because you feel anxious about the task in hand. An easy way to combat this would be through proper time management. Are you biting off more than you can chew and taking on more work than you have time to do? If you are then that feeling of being overwhelmed can easily lead to feelings of anxiety and stress, something you might deal with by procrastinating; a counterproductive result. Make sure you schedule in some downtime to give yourself a break and set realistic expectations about how much work you can take on.                                                                                                                      
  • Procrastinating because, “I’ve got loads of time” – Far off deadlines can be a double-edged sword; to some it is a gift – plenty of time to plan, research, go back to the drawing board if need be, and to others; a curse – particularly if they are a person prone to procrastination. This is probably the most common type, and one that will sound familiar if you used to be a student who had essay deadlines! As my story demonstrates, you’ll do your best work if you don’t leave it until the last minute, so a good tip is to give yourself an earlier deadline than your client has given you, and let someone know – be that your spouse, a colleague, or your friend etc. That public deadline-declaration will make it harder for you to get distracted and get away with putting it off, therefore keeping you motivated and on track.                                                                                                                                                                         
  • The Perfectionist – We can all be our own worst critics, and those who are overly-critical of themselves tend to be terrible procrastinators. People who are always striving for perfection can be so fearful of producing work that is anything less than that, that they never actually get around to doing anything. This should not be confused with taking pride in your work – it is not the striving for perfection that is the issue, it’s the critical mindset that will sabotage you before you have even begun. A good way to change your mindset if you know you fall into this category is to take a look at the last 5 jobs you have completed, or think about the feedback you received from your last 5 customers. Being a perfectionist means you are probably already working to an incredibly high standard, so you don’t need to give yourself such a hard time. If you do identify a time when your work wasn’t ‘perfect’, you’ll no doubt notice that there were no horrific consequences, and you’re still in business.                                                               
  • The Fun Procrastinator – We all know one of these, maybe you are one of these; someone who would rather do anything to fill their time other than the task at hand. I mean, why fill that order/call that client/redesign that product NOW? There’s something good on the telly at nine! Let’s face it there’s generally always something more fun to do than work, but watching those TV shows and videos of cats online isn’t going to help you grow your business is it? If it’s the action of ‘doing something different’ that makes the idea of the job less dreadful, then try doing the next thing on your work to-do list instead. It takes away the stress surrounding the specific job that is making you procrastinate, but is still productive.

So often procrastination comes from worrying about how the job you have to do is going to turn out; your brain is instantly picking out the most negative outcome that could occur; that customer is going to complain, that company won’t order from me again, this is going to be wrong..

By projecting that negativity onto something that hasn’t even happened yet you are setting yourself up to fail. No wonder you’re stressed out and putting the job off. How is this going to help you and your business in the long run? It isn’t. The key is to train your brain to pick out the positive things that could happen by you completing this work; it could lead to new contacts, referrals, repeat business, more money; and that’s what we’re all after isn’t it?

The moral of the story is, whatever your business is, don’t get so complacent or distracted that you stop doing your best work. By putting things off until later all you’re doing is causing yourself a lot of stress and putting yourself under pressure. Focus on the good things that will come from you getting stuff done well and on time – afterall, you’re only as good as your last job, and your next referral could depend on it.

That friend I mentioned at the beginning is still mates with the guy who commissioned him, but he’s never been asked to write for his website again, although the article is still on there. I’ve advised him that if he ever has a day where his mindset starts to slip dangerously into ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ territory, to go back and reread it, cringe inwardly, CHANGE his mindset, and get to work!

Do It Now!

Fancy joining a coaching and accountability group that cares as much about your business as you do? Then watch this!

Happiness Truths!

Two weeks ago I was in deepest darkest France attending a pool party at a Chateaux for my son’s wedding celebrations. We were 800 feet above the beautiful village of Beynac which sits on the banks of the Dordogne, sipping champagne with friends and family in 28 degrees of sun! Get the picture?

Moving on two weeks I’m 800 feet up on the top of the North Downs mowing my lawns and I got to reflecting on a conversation that I had had with one of the guests at the wedding and he asked me what I would attribute to the secret of a happy life? I of course said that there are no secrets to happiness, just some universal truths that I believe we all should practice.

Six universal truths,

  • Happiness is a daily choice; Everybody experiences difficulties and disappointment in their life! It’s how we choose to deal with it that makes the difference between being happy or not… Us psychologists believe that you can choose to be happy despite what’s going on around you. Try this little experiment…. Close your eyes and think of a song that makes you feel sad. Get into the song and experience the emotion. Now keeping your eyes closed think of a happy song, and again get into that song and experience the emotion. So did your mood lift with the happy song? Pick five things that you are truly grateful for in your life and focus on those for the first five minutes of the day while you are carrying out your ablutions in the morning!
  • You don’t NEED anything; Believing you need something that you don’t currently have is a definition of insanity! We have all that we need in life because if we didn’t then we wouldn’t be alive! Think about that for a minute!! I’m not saying that you don’t WANT something, however you don’t actually need that new handbag, pair of shoes, gaming chair, Ferrari! There’s nothing wrong with wanting nice things, however, fooling yourself that you need them is just MAD!
  • Stop trying to please everyone; the path to true happiness is being independent of the good opinion of other people. We worry too much about what other people think of us. People will always judge us regardless of what we do or say. On my mindset courses I regularly say to people about public speaking and trying to please the whole audience is pointless, with the best will in the world only 80% will like you and if the other 20% liked you then another 20% probably wouldn’t like you just because the other 20% did! If you wake up every day with a good heart, the intention of helping other people and doing no bad, then that’s the way to go. People can only judge you by their standards, and who says their standards are right?
  • Living in the past; What is done is done, you cannot change the past dwelling on things that have gone wrong can lead to depression and all sorts of other mental illness. Let it go, wasting today think about things that you have no control over truly is MAD. Put an elastic band around your wrist, and every time you have a negative thought about the past, ping the band and replace the negative event with three positive events from your memory banks. I’m sure you have loads of happy memories if you choose to find them.
  • Future pacing; Most things that people worry about happening NEVER do! Putting a negative outcome on an imagined future event is not going to serve you well at all. This again is a question of programming your brain to pick out the positive that might happen rather than the negative. Use the elastic band trick. You will be surprised how quickly things change and how much better you will feel, and you’ll live longer! Putting a negative outcome on a future event will raise your stress levels immensely, so ask yourself how is thinking like this serving you?
  • Now is a Present; Appreciate where you are and what you are doing! People keep telling me that time is going quicker; no its not! They are just so wrapped up in the future or the past and just not paying attention to NOW! Start being aware of where you are and what you’re doing rather than racing through time to get to the next thing that is happening in your life. Love and appreciate every minute of your life, if you’re struggling with this concept then read this book!
  • Blame; Removing blame form your life and taking complete responsibility for you and your actions will be a major step towards happiness. Blaming others, circumstance or yourself serves absolutely no purpose other than to absolve yourself from responsibility for YOUR LIFE! Life is very simple if you choose it to be…. Cause and effect, sow and reap! Use the elastic band again and flick it every time you finding blame entering your thoughts or coming out of your mouth!

Now whether the young man in question will actually try and apply any of these universal truths or not is another matter or will he turn out to be another person that just moans and complains about how hard life is?
How about you, will you try all of these things for a month? If you do, please let me know how you feel?

Do It Now!

The Power of Branding!

An interesting thing happened to me while I was on holiday recently that reminded me about the importance and power of branding! This is often something that is under valued by small business owners.

Last year I had some sloppy tee shirts made and supplied by my favourite branded workwear company for me to wear on holiday. I had my #FlipFlopPsycho logo plastered all over the front and back so that it was very easily seen, excellent attire for the beach and pool!

Two days into the holiday and we are in a lovely walled garden restaurant in Cefalu town centre, Sarah and I have sat down and enjoying a nice glass of Sicilian red when I’ve noticed this couple on a table in the corner keep looking over at us… I thought I had grown horns or something.

After we had finished our meal and was just ordering a coffee the man on the other table walked over to us and said, “Excuse me but are you Ash Lawrence?” Now then, I realise I am quite well known in Kent but in Sicily, really? I tentatively replied with a “Yes, why?” He said “I saw you walking on the beach a couple of days ago and wondered what #FlipFlopPsycho was? I saw the logo on your tee shirt so looked it up on google and found out all about you!”

If you were one of my clients, you would know that I bang on about engaging with people as you never know where that journey might go, so with that in mind I asked him what he thought about what I did? He asked if I could answer him a couple of questions about his business if he bought us a bottle of wine. Oh well, fair exchange is no robbery!!

An hour later and more than a couple of glasses of an excellent red, with him and his wife we agreed to meet back in the UK.

Some important lessons with this story…

1 – The Power of Branding. The power of branding is when you are able to take your brand to a level that anyone can easily identify it. That’s when your marketing and advertising campaigns have succeeded. This is one of the benefits of a strong brand.

2 – We are always networking. We are always networking and we get what we network for. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you are doing, there are opportunities to meet people and engage in a conversation.

3 – You must ENGAGE! If you don’t engage with people either face to face or on social media how are you going to start a journey of discovery with that person? What’s the worse that could happen? Generally the people that get on in life are the great communicators, so just give it a go and ENGAGE!

4 – Positive social proof. Having testimonials on your social media that others can see is a great way to get your reputation out there! A lot of people are afraid to ask for recommendations from people that they have worked with. ASK THEM! If people can see that you are visible and effective then it speaks volumes about you.

Back to the man in question… We met for lunch at St Pancras station and agreed that I would go in and meet his directors, which I did and he has now signed a two year deal for me to work in his business as non-exec director.

All this from a sloppy tee shirt and a #FlipFlopPsycho logo!

Thank you Carrie Stay from Clockwork Moggy for the logo and Rachel Cowell from JustSo branded clothing and workwear for the Tee’s.

Do It Now!

If you would like to grow your business then why not join one of my accountability groups?

Fancy it? Then watch this video!

Come along to my Entrepreneurs Business Club!

Try our new online coaching groups

Six things to look for when choosing a coach/mentor!

When I was a young man of 23, my business partner and best mate Jamie and I used to stop off on a Friday night and have a beer in a pub called the Queens Head and as we were enjoying our pint a young ex public school boy used to drop in and have a drink with us.

Chris worked in the City as a financial analyst and he would say to us, “I’ve got a great tip, if you invest just £200 in this share or that bit of stock, it will make you rich!” Now, Jamie and I being working class type men were a bit skeptical of get rich quick schemes, however plausible they might seem and to add to that we were already well on our way to having a few quid!

ASH[1]-47aaWe didn’t invest! What we did do was check young Chris out and found that he lived in a rented one bed flat in a very poor area and was in debt up to his eyebrows. So the question we did have for Chris the next time he came in the pub and sat down with us was “Why if these stocks and shares are so good why are you skint?” Chris didn’t practice what he preached!

Needless to say we didn’t see Chris for a very long time.

One of my key learning points in life is to surround yourself with people that are smarter than you. The delegates that come on my Millionaire Mind-set course will know that I recommend everyone getting a coach/mentor in their life and business. The main reason for this is that we can’t fix a problem with the same level of thinking that created the problem in the first place and as creatures of habit we tend to look for solutions in the same place as we always have.

A lot of small business owners look around at successful business owners and think that they did it all by themselves. Let me tell you this, there are very few successful business people that have done it totally on their own. Every one of them has had some help somewhere; they will have made sure that the people in their lives and business are of the highest quality. I have a mentor and part of her role with me is to keep me focused and accountable.

Every entrepreneur needs a coach/mentor, because the fastest way to learn any business is to study someone who has been successful at it. This person has already paid the price of experience. You must absorb all of the information that you can out of him or her and take action! Does the coach/Mentor that you are considering run successful training courses?

Over the years, I’ve met many people who desperately want to be successful but who are ultimately unwilling to invest in themselves. They think, “I can teach myself. I can learn this on my own.” I’m always gobsmacked by this attitude. If I can avoid making a few mistakes by being mentored by someone that has already been there and done it, then I’m going to.

AshferrariIf a business owner won’t invest in themselves how do they expect other people to invest in them? They are happy to go out on a Friday and Saturday night and pour fifty quid’s worth of alcohol down their neck but won’t pour fifty quid into their head. If only they realised that by pouring the money into their head they could pour as much as they like down their neck in the future!

The wiser people will often come to me and ask me to work with them and others that I meet at network meetings or other business events ask me if I could recommend them to a great coach/mentor, which I do. However, it goes without saying that some coaches/mentors are better than others. There are so many people these days offering their services to entrepreneurs online. Before you jump into a new relationship, take some time to get to know a potential coach/mentor.

I have some basic rules that I use when recommending other coaches/mentors and which, I believe are six great tips before you choose a coach/mentor to take you and your business forward.

So here you go six tips for choosing a business coach/mentor;

  1. Congruency – The number-one thing to look for on someone’s resume is his or her experience.
    • What exactly have they accomplished? Is it the same as you want to accomplish? Your coach/mentor must have walked the walk. I feel strongly about this.
    • Find someone that has truly paid their dues and can speak of their real-life experiences. Ideally, this person will have failed and succeeded. Their insight will help you avoid making costly mistakes and increase your chance of success immensely.
    • Does the coach/mentor you are about to choose have a track record of building successful businesses?
    • Is the coach/mentor’s current business successful? If not why not? I see a lot of business coaches/mentors out there telling other people how to run their business and make more money and they are skint themselves.
    • Make sure the coach/mentor you choose practices what they preach, and actually walk their talk!
  2. Recommendations – Have they got a string of recommendations from real customers?
    • The chances are if you are picking a great coach/mentor they will have a portfolio of testimonials from satisfied clients.
    • Have they got social proof?
    • Have a look at their Linkedin profile and their recommendations. If they haven’t got any, why not?
    • What is being said on Facebook or Twitter?
    • Have a look at some of their YouTube videos.
  3. Honesty – Will they tell you how it is or will they tell you what you want to hear?
    • If you are looking for someone to tell you what you already know, ask yourself is having a YES man doing you any good? You have to want to be challenged!
    • The mentor needs to be honest with you and you need to be honest with yourself.
    • Ask them if they have failed with their past business ventures? If they say no, I would suggest that they are less than honest.
    • Most successful business owners have failed and more importantly they have learned from the experience and then moved on to business success. 
  4. Attitude – I have met some business coaches/mentors that are very negative and spend most of their time finding what’s wrong with life rather than what they could do to get a better result. In my experience, having a great attitude comes with time and experience. The right coach/mentor will have been through it all – and come out the other side knowing a sense of humour goes a long way in business.
    • They are able to see the big picture.
    • They don’t get too upset or emotional.
    • An ideal coach/mentor is very patient, but also persistent and determined.
    • Positive energy is very important in any relationship and if your mentor has a negative attitude it will drag you down with them.
    • Make sure that they have a positive outlook on everything and look to find a way to make things happen rather than find reasons why they won’t.
  5. KPI – Are they a Key Person of Influence?
    • Does your potential coach/mentor regularly give talks?
    • Has he or she written a book?
    • Do reporters interview him or her?
    • A great coach/mentor will have longstanding relationships with people who could benefit you. Ask him or her if they’re willing to open doors for you.
    • Sometimes, it is about who you know rather than just what you know.
    • If this person offers a long list of services, exercise caution. It’s impossible to be everything to everyone, and nor is it desirable.
  6. Accountability – A great coach/mentor will not simply let you disappear.
    1. They will hold you accountable. It’s a lonely place owning a business and in a lot of cases you are not accountable to anyone.
    2. Yes, things get in the way. But he or she cares about how you’re doing.
    3. If you’re lucky enough to find a coach/mentor that you gel with, as I have, you will make a great friend for life.
    4. They will enjoy sharing in your success and feeling like they were part of it.

Remember Jim Rohn’s quote “You will become the average of the five people you spend most of your time with!” So surround yourself with people that you aspire to be like and who fill you with positive energy!

avandentFinally I was driving on the motorway to give a talk to a group of business owners when I passed a van and the sign writing said “Don’t drive around with that dent in your car, or that scratch along the door. Let us fix it for you!” Yes you guessed it; in the front wing was a bloody great dent! And to cap it off, guess who was driving the van….. Chris!

Do It Now!

If you would like to grow your business then why not join one of my accountability groups?

Fancy it? Then watch this video!

Come along to my Entrepreneurs Business Club!

Try our new online coaching groups.

Or you could fill in the form below!!

Are you a new business or solopreneur? Then look at this video…

“Don’t ask for financial advice from skint people, don’t ask business advice from people that haven’t had a successful business and make sure you have your dents and scratches sorted by someone that looks after their own vehicle!” 🙂

Thank you Al Frank Monk for a brilliant photo shoot!

Ash is the “FlipFlopPsycho!”

flip-flop-on-blue

Life Lessons!

It’s coming up to 5 years since the unexpected passing of my mum. This weekend I caught myself reflecting on the morning when I received the news, and how since, lots of people who I barely know came up to me over the subsequent days and gave me a pat on the back, a hug, or a genuine “I’m sorry!”
 More →

Imagine…

I’m glad you’re reading this…

Because today I am going to share a powerful technique with you.

But first I want you to imagine this…

Imagine jumping out of bed each morning with a surge of motivation.

With a huge smile on your face because of your passion of just being alive.

Imagine feeling complete confidence in yourself…

The kind of confidence that makes you stand tall and proud.

The kind of confidence that people notice and draws them closer to you.

Imagine communicating with your friends, colleagues, and clients with surgical precision.

You connect with them on a deep emotional level and they hang on every word you say…

They’re captivated.

Imagine looking in the mirror each morning feeling strong, powerful and in control.

Imagine checking your bank account balance and seeing it grow – not shrink – as each day goes by.

Imagine the freedom you will have. Imagine what you will be able to do.

Imagine who you will be able to become.

Of course…

All these things are possible. But they’re not going to happen on their own.

But if you’re willing to invest a bit of spare time each day AND be willing to step outside of your comfort zone…

Then you’ll be solidly on your way to a an everlasting, better, fuller, and richer life.

Including: your work, your success, your wealth, your income, your friendships, and your relationships.

but you have to take ACTION.

P.S. There’s a powerful technique in this blog.

Did you catch it?

It’s all about using powerful language patterns. It’s about using your language with PURPOSE so that you’re better able to get what you want (and help others get what THEY want in the process).

This is all centered around the word “Imagine.”

I love the word imagine because it allows you to paint pictures and elicit strong feelings with anyone you speak to.

You can help people SEE and FEEL their desired outcomes… helping them to take ACTION.

IMAGINE NOW what this would all feel like if you just used your imagination….

Or you can Choose not to……

Do It Now!

Would you like to join one of my Entrepreneurs Business Clubs?

Have a look at my Millionaire Mind-set seminars.  

If you are one of those that take action and would like to get the results that you want, take a look at this Millionaire Mindset Mini Course.

Would you like to learn more about being in an accountability results group? If so watch this video!

Come along to my Entrepreneurs Business Club!

Lest we forget!

On November 7th, 1920, in strictest secrecy, four unidentified British bodies were exhumed from temporary battlefield cemeteries at Ypres, Arras, the Asine and the Somme.
None of the soldiers who did the digging were told why.
The bodies were taken by field ambulance to GHQ at St-Pol-Sur-Ter Noise. Once there, the bodies were draped with the union flag.
Sentries were posted and Brigadier-General Wyatt and a Colonel Gell selected one body at random. The other three were reburied.
A French Honour Guard was selected and stood by the coffin of the chosen soldier overnight.
On the morning of the 8th November, a specially designed coffin made of oak from the grounds of Hampton Court arrived and the Unknown Warrior was placed inside.

On top was placed a crusaders sword and a shield on which was inscribed:
“A British Warrior who fell in the GREAT WAR 1914-1918 for King and Country”.
On the 9th of November, the Unknown Warrior was taken by horse-drawn carriage through Guards of Honour and the sound of tolling bells and bugle calls to the quayside.
There, he was saluted by Marechal Foche and loaded onto HMS Vernon bound for Dover. The coffin stood on the deck covered in wreaths, surrounded by the French Honour Guard.
Upon arrival at Dover, the Unknown Warrior was met with a nineteen gun salute – something that was normally only reserved for Field Marshals.
A special train had been arranged and he was then conveyed to Victoria Station, London.
He remained there overnight, and, on the morning of the 11th of November, he was finally taken to Westminster Abbey.
The idea of the unknown warrior was thought of by a Padre called David Railton who had served on the front line during the Great War the union flag he had used as an altar cloth whilst at the front, was the one that had been draped over the coffin.
It was his intention that all of the relatives of the 517,773 combatants whose bodies had not been identified could believe that the Unknown Warrior could very well be their lost husband, father, brother or son…
THIS is the reason we wear poppies.

We do not glorify war.

We remember – with humility – the great and the ultimate sacrifices that were made, not just in this war, but in every war and conflict where our service personnel have fought – to ensure the liberty and freedoms that we now take for granted.

Every year, on the 11th of November, we remember the Unknown Warrior.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.

Please share!

Do It Now!

Reticular Activation System!

Our brains are incredibly complex. We can sift through billions of bits of data at any given time. And somehow, so we don’t short circuit, we have to organise that information. The Reticular Activating System helps with that.

The Reticular Activating System (RAS) is a bundle of nerves at our brainstem that filters out unnecessary information so the important stuff gets through. The RAS is the reason you learn a new word and then start hearing it everywhere. It’s why you can tune out a crowd full of talking people, yet immediately snap to attention when someone says your name or something that at least sounds like it.

Your RAS takes what you focus on and creates a filter for it. It then sifts through the data and presents only the pieces that are important to you. All of this happens without you noticing, of course. The RAS programs itself to work in your favour without you actively doing anything. In the same way, the RAS seeks information that validates your beliefs. It filters the world through the parameters you give it, and your beliefs shape those parameters.

If you think you are bad at giving speeches, you probably will be. If you believe you work efficiently, you most likely do. The RAS helps you see what you want to see and in doing so, influences your actions. Psychologists believe that you can train your RAS by taking your subconscious thoughts and marrying them to your conscious thoughts. They call it “setting your intent.” This basically means that if you focus hard on your goals, your RAS will reveal the people, information and opportunities that help you achieve them.

If you care about positivity, for example, you will become more aware of and seek positivity. If you really want a new yellow car and set your intent on getting one, you’ll tune in to the right information that helps you do that and all you will see is yellow cars. (Don’t think about yellow cars!)

When you look at it this way, The Law of Attraction doesn’t seem so mystical. Focus on the bad things and you will invite negativity into your life. Focus on the good things and they will come to you, because your brain is seeking them out. It’s not magic, it’s your Reticular Activating System influencing the world you see around you.

There are many  ways to train your RAS to get what you want, and I find this method to be the most practical:

1 – First, think of the goal or situation you want to influence.

2 – Now think about the experience or result you want to reach in regards to that goal/situation.

3 – Create a mental movie of how you picture that goal/situation ideally turning out in the future. Notice the sounds, conversations, visuals and details of that mental movie. Replay it often in your head.

Of course, in reality these things aren’t as easy as they sound, and I do believe that our Reticular Activating System (RAS) can be trained. It’s about visualising what we want, and then letting our subconscious and conscious work together to make it happen.

The idea is: If I can hear my own name in a crowd of thousands, can I also tune my brain to focus and attract the things that matter to me? I’m fairly certain I can. I have to continually refocus and remind my brain what matters and what doesn’t.

If we set our intent and refocus, though, our RAS might help us get what we want. Our brains look out for our best interests. Our RAS is filtering through billions of pieces of data so we can see and hear and be what we want to be.

Be careful what you wish for!

Do It Now!

Four things not to say to yourself!

We all know how to speak and communicate to each other, although the results of our communication are not always what we intended! The way we talk to ourselves, our internal voice and language patterns are so important to the results we get in life.

Below are four things that you most definitely shouldn’t say to yourself!

1 – “I do not have enough to be positive and grateful.”

Some days you’ll find diamonds and some days all you’ll see is coal. However, every day is a golden opportunity to learn, practice gratitude, and positively impact the world around you.

Do not ask for instant fulfilment in your life, but for patience to accept your current frustrations. Do not ask for perfection in all you do, but for the wisdom to not repeat past mistakes.

Do not ask for more before saying, “THANK YOU” for everything you have already received.

And remember, everything in life is temporary. So if things are good, enjoy it. It won’t last forever. If things are bad, don’t worry because it won’t last forever either. Just because life isn’t stress-free right now, doesn’t mean you can’t laugh.

Just because something is bothering you, doesn’t mean you can’t smile. The trick is to be grateful when your mood is high and graceful when it is low.

2 – “My life should be easier and free of discomfort.”

Great challenges make life interesting; overcoming them makes life meaningful. It’s how you deal with failure and discomfort that determines your level of success and happiness. Laugh at your mistakes and learn from them. Joke about your troubles and gather strength from them. Have fun with the challenges you face and then conquer them.

Emotional discomfort in life, when accepted, rises, crests and crashes in a series of waves. Each wave washes an old layer of you away and deposits treasures you never expected to find. Out goes inexperience, in comes awareness; out goes frustration, in comes resilience; out goes hatred, in comes kindness.

No one would say these waves of emotional experience are easy to ride, but the rhythm of emotional discomfort that you learn to tolerate while doing so is natural, helpful and prevalent. The discomfort eventually leaves you stronger and healthier than it found you.

3 – “I can’t forgive them.”

Forgiveness is a promise. When you forgive someone you are making a promise not to hold the unchangeable past against your present self. Forgiveness doesn’t mean what happened was completely excusable, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that person should still be welcome in your life.

It simply means you have made peace with the pain, and are ready to let it go and move on with your life.
Forgiveness has nothing to do with freeing a criminal of his or her crime. It has everything to do with freeing yourself of the burden of being a victim – letting go of the pain and transforming yourself from victim to victor.

4 –  “I am alone.”

You can’t make it through on your own. None of us can. That’s why, thank goodness, you are never as alone as you sometimes feel. So many of us are fighting the same exact battle alongside you. You may feel alone sometimes, but you are not alone in being alone.

To lose sleep worrying about a loved one. To have trouble picking yourself up after someone lets you down. To feel rejected because someone didn’t care about you enough to stay. To be afraid to try something new for fear you may fail. None of this means you’re weird or dysfunctional. It just means you’re human, and that you need a little time to regroup and re-calibrate yourself.

No matter how embarrassed or pathetic you feel about your own situation, there are others out there experiencing the same emotions. When you hear yourself say, “I am all alone,‚Äù it’s just your mind trying to sell you a lie. There’s always someone who can relate to you. Perhaps you can’t immediately talk to them, but they are out there, and that’s all you need to know right now.

Next steps…

If I eavesdropped on your self-talk, would I hear statements that empower happiness, or statements that refute it? The next time you decide to unclutter your life and clean up your space, start with your intellectual space by clearing out the old lies and negative self-talk you often recite to yourself.

So there are four things you shouldn’t say to yourself, now what I challenge you to do is to replace these four negative thoughts with twelve positive statements. (Three each one) Please let me know how you get on!

Do It Now!

Would you like to join one of my Entrepreneurs Business Clubs?

Have a look at my Millionaire Mind-set seminars.   

We are starting a new course in October, if you are interested in earning more money with less stress and a better lifestyle have a look just here!

Acres of Ice!

It was my wife Sarah’s birthday last weekend and as a special treat we went to Iceland (Not the food chain) to celebrate, we both came back with a much deeper understanding of the word cold! We had some excellent excursions planned to see the Northern Lights (aurora borealis), the famous golden circle and of all things a tomato farm!

While we were there it was also a great opportunity to watch other people and their behaviour; we both love doing this.

The first trip was to see the Northern Lights, we had to go on a coach with 58 other people, just over an hour later we arrived in the middle of a volcanic wasteland. Everyone alighted from the coach into what appeared to be total darkness, we couldn’t see the person standing right next to us. The two ladies that had sat behind us on the coach had followed Sarah and I down the steps and out into the middle of crater, continued the moaning about the cold and the dark!

The view into the night sky was phenomenal, like nothing I had ever seen before, there was no light pollution and it was almost as if I could reach out and grab the star of my choice… A unique experience and the only thing missing was the actual Northern Lights, two hours in and the guide said we should call it a day and the remaining six of us that hadn’t re-boarded the bus should start to do so as it was unlikely that we would see the lights.

Yes, it was minus 12 degrees C and pretty dark, however, we had driven over an hour to be there so Sarah and I weren’t going to miss a minute because of a little bit of cold. Needless to say, the two ladies had found their way back on the coach after about three minutes flat! Just as we were about to get on the coach the guide said “quick, quick, the lights are coming out!” We had the light show that Sarah had be dreaming of, it was absolutely amazing even though it lasted for just over one minute.

Just as it came to an end the two ladies had managed to get off the coach and one of them said “That’s just my bloody luck to miss the show, that type of thing always happens to me!” The trip back on the coach to the hotel was interesting listening to the two ladies bemoaning their luck about missing the famous Northern lights and how they would have been better spending their time in the bar!

Next morning we were up early and on the coach to start our tour of ‘the golden circle’ the start of a ten hour journey to some of Iceland’s most famous land marks. This trip the two ladies were in the seats next to us, so great opportunity to observe, learn and report! The first stop was the tomato farm, then the boiling geysers and hot springs, followed by the frozen water falls and the pièce de résistance the valleys between the two tectonic plates!

The drive between the North American plate and the Eurasian plate put us amongst some breath taking scenery. We arrived at a base camp and was told that there was an optional 25 minute climb up to the coach park on the top of this range of mountains where the coach would pick us up. Everyone on the coach decided to take the challenge and walk to the top… Except of course (you guessed it) the two ladies.

The view and experience was outstanding with volcanic caverns, waterfalls, lakes and ice flows and no end of interesting things to look at, Sarah and I loved every minute. When we got back on the coach the two ladies were sitting there moaning about how long it had taken the rest of us to walk up and I said to them “Didn’t you fancy seeing the heart of Iceland?” Their reply was “No, there’s nothing to see it all looks the bloody same!” You just can’t help some people!

Now then, you might ask why have I told you this little story? Well my job is to Observe, Learn and then Report it back so that people can learn from it also. The two main learning bits from this were;

  1. You make your own luck! If you have flown 1200 miles and endured a one hour coach ride to see the Northern Lights, what do you expect by sitting on the bus! Life is very much about engagement and new experiences. Engage with the people around you and enjoy the experience, sitting in a safe harbour never ever helped the great explorers of history find new and distant shores!
  2. Even though you might be looking, what you see depends very much on what you expect to see. If you expect to see nothing new, then you will see nothing new. Open your eyes and start looking for what is under your very nose. There is so much beauty in this world that goes unseen because we are programmed not to really look! It is very much like the book by Russell H Conwell ‘Acres of Diamonds’ sometimes the very thing we are looking for is right there, we just have to look for it!

Observe, Learn, Report!

Do It Now!

Would you like to join one of my Entrepreneurs Business Clubs?

Have a look at my Millionaire Mind-set seminars.   

We are starting a new course in January, if you are interested in earning more money with less stress and a better lifestyle have a look just here!

Work Harder when you’re busy!

Just recently I was invited to an event called F##KUP Friday at Dragon Co-Working in Rochester. This is intended to be a fun filled night with 3 different speakers sharing their experience in growing their own businesses. I love any type of event that brings business people together as it’s a great learning opportunity for me, as well of course networking at its best!

Eighty plus people in the room, seventy five percent of which I already knew so lots of scope to meet new people as well as have a fun, education filled evening. Ten minutes in and I have my first opportunity to experience an interesting belief system… I was speaking to an accountant and I asked had she ever thought about standing up and telling us about her mistakes in life and business; “No bloody way!” was her response. “Why not?” I asked. “I’m an accountant and I can’t admit to making mistakes in front of people! What message would that tell my clients and any prospective clients?”

Did she really believe that she was perfect in EVERY way and never made a mistake? Even more, did she believe that her clients thought that she never made mistakes? Let me tell you this… There is no one on this planet that hasn’t made a mistake. In my mind it is part of the learning experience and without failing we cannot grow. Yes, she is right that her clients wouldn’t want her to make mistakes with their accounts, however, admitting to mistakes and putting them right shows a level of humility and makes someone far more likable and real!

Onto the first of the speakers. Young Tom, 28 years old and he starts by telling us that he left school with zero qualifications and no real chance of getting a great job. Fortunately, his dad got him an apprenticeship with one of his friends as an electrician. Tom worked hard for the five years to complete his apprenticeship getting up at 5am, driving into London then home by 7pm five days a week. His apprenticeship finished he was now a fully qualified sparks and earning a good wage, although working physically hard for it.

Tom’s mate, however, was in sales and earning five times as much as Tom with half the effort, so at 22 years of age Tom moved into the sales business. Before long he was earning more money than he knew what to do with, new BMW , giant hot tub in his mums back garden, £200 shirts, £500 trainers, expensive holidays and with the Rolex his dad had bought him on his 21st birthday looked the part of the successful business man.

Tom then goes on to tell us that this is where he slowed down, stopped putting the love into the business because he thought that he had made it…. More money going out than coming in and it wasn’t long before he was in financial trouble. The business that he had built was slipping away because the effort that he had put in had diminished, he was taking his clients for granted and working a fraction of what he did when he had started the business. The BMW went, the trainers and the shirts had worn out, the hot tub, like his revenue stream had dried up! On top of this the hair on his head had considerably thinned! At 28 he was driving his mums 16 year old golf and rethinking his strategy!

He’s now started his own electrical company which is now thriving because he learned from the mistakes that he made previously and he most certainly will not repeat the same mistake, as in his own words “Everyone makes mistakes but only complete idiots make the same one twice!”
I see this behaviour everywhere, especially within networking circles, people get busy so they stop networking saying that they are too busy to find the time to build the pipeline and look after the relationships that gave them the work to be busy with in the first place. Madness……

Toms final words to all of us were “When you are busy work even harder, and keep going!”

Do It Now!

Would you like to join one of my Entrepreneurs Business Clubs?

Have a look at my Millionaire Mind-set seminars.  

Things a stripy lawn can teach us about business!

Stripes in my lawn!

I was cutting my lawn recently and I noticed that the stripes that I had worked so hard to keep straight had a bend in them! As I was going up and down the lawn focusing all of my efforts into making sure that the front wheel of my mower was  adhering to the wheel mark from the cut coming down the other way I hadn’t noticed that the stripes were gradually going off piste! The front wheel base being narrower than the rear wheel base meant that I wasn’t actually following a straight line but a slightly off centre curve!

Now this got me thinking about a solution to the problem of a lawn that wasn’t looking nice, stripy and perfectly square. (I hear you say sad bastard!) The answer was quite easy when I thought about it! It was to look at the end of the line I wanted to go along and not focus so close to the end of the bonnet so to speak!

By looking further ahead I was more aware of what was happening all around me and had a much clearer view of what needed to happen to keep the lines straight. I then thought that this was a lot like business and confirmed what I find all of the time that most small business owners don’t look far enough ahead. They seem to be too busy being busy and not planning anything for their business or life going forward.

We’ve all heard the expression too busy working IN the business to work ON the business. You may ask why is it that we spend all our time looking at things right under our nose but not seeing the big picture?

Here are a few tips that will help you improve your business and life by changing your focal point;

  1. Set some goals… Even if it’s only small ones to start. At the end of every year I plan my next year with absolute precision breaking it down into quarters then months then weeks then days. Ok, it might not be precise at the end of that year, however I’m always a lot further ahead than if I hadn’t planned anything. After all, if you go into a railway station and ask for a ticket the first thing the ticket clerk will say is “Where to?” If you don’t plan it, it’s very unlikely to happen!
  2. Put it in your diary… If it’s in your diary it’s more likely to happen. The amount of small business owners I meet that don’t keep a diary is astounding and they wonder why they haven’t got any money or their business isn’t growing. Putting things in your diary for the year is a great way to make sure that things start to happen, like HOLIDAYS! Part of my planning is six weeks work then a week’s holiday throughout the year. My wife and I plan the holidays, diarise them and then book with the holiday company, that way there’s no going back. I then work out the budget for them and that goes on the plan of what I need to earn that year.
  3. Say what you do and do what you say… If you’ve booked it and you say you are going to do it, then make sure you do it. There are too many flaky business people out there that book things then don’t turn up because they’ve had a better offer. This behaviour destroys trust and says more about your integrity than anything else. If you only have this one rule in your life it will make a massive difference to the amount of referrals that you get. People like doing business with reliable people, so, if you say your going to do something, THEN DO IT!
  4. Have a look for challenges… One of the most important aspects of good planning is that you can find out what challenges face you in the future. This means taking a bit of time to think about the tasks and wonder what challenges it could throw up. Doing this means that you can work out more accurately how long it might take you to resolve each one and be prepared. Hope for the best and plan for the worst!
  5. Decide what’s most important, and ditch the rest… This may sound like a drastic measure to some, but it really isn’t. The day will quickly fill up with time-wasting activities if you aren’t careful.  So, you must remember that being productive isn’t just about getting things done, it’s also about leaving things undone.  The simplicity and efficiency of today depends heavily on the elimination of non-essential tasks.  You must identify and focus on what’s most important to you, and then ditch as much as you possibly can of everything else. Have a look at my 3F’s video here!

So there you have it, you can focus on the front wheels and have curved stripes or look at the big picture and have a nice straight and stripy lawn!

Do It Now!

If you are a business or life coach and would like to get more clients please have a look at my SYSTEMS for Coaches course where you could be one of our next licensed coaches. Look here!

If you would like to grow your business then why not join one of my accountability groups?

Fancy it? Then watch this video!

Come along to my Entrepreneurs Business Club!

Business surgery!

Last Friday I was invited to do a business surgery at a local co-working group. What a fantastic opportunity for me to spend some time with these enthusiastic business owners and answer some of their questions about business and to hopefully help them on their journey to success. (Whatever that might look like for each of them).

Over the weekend I have been thinking about all of the subjects we talked about and thought I’d share with you my key learning points from the session.

Start living to your personal values – Rejections don’t matter in the long run, there will be people that rate you and those that hate you.  Accept them and refocus your attention on what DOES matter.  What does matter is how you see yourself.  Always make a habit of staying 100% true to your values and convictions, regardless of what others think.  Never be ashamed of doing what feels right.  To help you implement this positive habit, start by listing out 5-10 things that are important to you when it comes to building your character and living your life.  For example, Openness, Honesty, Fairness, Reliability, Self-respect, Self-discipline, Compassion, and Kindness.  Having a short list like this to reference will give you an opportunity to consciously invoke and uphold your handpicked traits and behaviours in place of doing something random simply for the purpose of external validation. I see a lot of personal and company mission statements on websites and on the walls in offices I visit and the owners can’t remember what the values actually are. Your values should go through you like the writing in a stick of rock!

Move towards your goal every day – Have you actually set some life and business goals? If you don’t know where you are going how can you possibly move towards it on a regular and consistent basis? When a thought comes to mind, ask yourself if it’s helping you grow or holding you back.  Take back control.  Make the unconscious, conscious, and let go of what isn’t helping you.  Letting go isn’t giving up.  It’s letting go of any obsessive emotional attachment to particular people, outcomes and situations.  It means showing up every day in your life with the intention to be your best you, and to do the best you know how to, without expecting life to go a certain way.  Have goals, have dreams, aspire and take purposeful action, and build great relationships, but detach from what every aspect of your life must absolutely look like to be good enough for you.  Just accept reality and then respond effectively.  Focus on what matters what moves you forward today and let go of what doesn’t. At the end of each day ask yourself “Have I moved towards my goal or away from it today?” If it’s towards then do more of that activity tomorrow; if it’s away, then stop doing it!

You can’t grow if you don’t fail – It’s OK if you cock it up; that’s how you grow in life.  Give yourself a break.  Don’t give up.  Great things take time, and you’re getting there.  Let your mistakes be your motivation, not your excuses.  Decide right now that negative experiences from your past won’t predict your future. If you are afraid of failing the chances are you will never achieve anything of significance. Look at things with a different belief, such as;  ‘there’s no such thing as failure, just action and feedback!’ If you thought with every venture that you started there was only two outcomes, either you get the result that you wanted or you learnt a beautiful lesson, how much easier would it be to take a chance? Don’t worry about getting it right, get it going!

Everything is cause and effect – Do you remember at school being taught that every action has an equal and opposite reaction? Well, that’s absolutely true with everything in life and especially in business. If you don’t like the result that you are getting, change the action that you are taking. It’s absolute madness expecting a different result by taking the same action. An easy acronym for you to remember this is A.C.T. Take some Action. Consider the results, Tinker with the next Action.

Act,

Consider,

Tinker!

This will help you be more conscious regarding the sow and reap principle.

Life is far too short to be wasting it making excuses, spending it with negative people or doing things that make us unhappy, so come on, make a decision to be in control of your life and choose to be happy on a daily basis.

Do It Now!

Would you like to join one of my Entrepreneurs Business Clubs?

Have a look at my Millionaire Mind-set seminars.