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.

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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!

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“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!

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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?

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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!

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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.  

7 Key steps for successful networking!

Just recently I was asked to write a networking article for a National Magazine about networking and here is the result that you might find useful if you, like me, are a serial networker!

I was at the ABC Big Breakfast network meeting back in January and a business coach came up to me and asked how I managed to have my diary booked full of clients for 6 months in advance? I asked him how many network meetings he attended in an average month? He said 3 or 4 max, which at best is one per week! He then followed that up with saying that networking doesn’t work for him!

I told him that during a normal year I attend between two hundred and two hundred and fifty network meetings of one description or another and I have a process at each of those meetings. I also said that over 90% of my business came directly from networking or direct referrals.

He asked for some tips and these are seven that I gave to him:

  1. BE CONSISTENT. It’s no good turning up to a meeting and then not going again for another six months. People do business with people that they know, like and trust and seeing you every six months doesn’t give them the opportunity to build that trust.                                                           
  2. MARKETING BEFORE SALES. The amount of time we get cancellations at ABC Networks meetings because people say that they have to see a client! Really? It’s this mind-set that leads to a feast or famine business. Marketing is your sales funnel and without it the sales will dry up, so it has to be marketing before sales. If your clients can’t wait an extra hour in the mornings then that highlights other systemic issues in your business and would suggest a scarcity mind-set.                                                                                                                                                                          
  3. SUSPEND YOUR JUDGEMENT. Either consciously or subconsciously we are always making judgements and this is especially true at a network meeting. Your job is to be aware that you are doing this and STOP IT! Just because someone is dressed in shorts and flip-flops doesn’t mean they are skint or don’t know what they are talking about. Just because you don’t need a financial advisor at the moment doesn’t mean that they don’t know someone that could use your business. Stop judging and start connecting.                                                                               
  4. ASK DON’T TELL. If you are telling someone at a network meeting what you do, the chances are that they have turned off! Most people make a snap judgement about what you are saying and if they don’t have an immediate need they lose interest. When I’m asked what I do I always have a quick one line ready that includes the type of client I’m looking for, and then say “More importantly what do you do?” and I always finish with “How will I know if one of my clients is the right fit for you?” This shows that you are interested in them which will probably be a first.                                                                                                                                                                                       
  5. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. Reverse psychology here. Most people that network are busy trying to get a sale and that equates to most people are busy resisting a sale! Yes of course in the long run that’s what we want, however, if you work on finding out all about them and how you can help them, the law of reciprocation will mean at some point they will do the same for you. I know it feels counterproductive, trust me, it really isn’t about you!                                                        
  6. CONNECT PEOPLE.  Make a genuine effort to connect people and keep them uppermost in your mind while you are out networking. My sole intention when I’m at a meeting is who can I connect this person to, and I always offer to connect them with my Linkedin connections if it will help them.                                                                                                                                                     
  7. UPDATE YOUR CRM. As soon as you get back to your office or home make sure you connect on Linkedin, Facebook & Twitter and any other social media platform. I always send an email to a new connection thanking them for chatting to me and offering them a connection to my connections. I then update my CRM with the details I collected from them so that I always remember their name and business, when you meet them again and can remember their name they will definitely be surprised.

Overall, I believe networking is about turning strangers into friends and keeping the relationship warm just like you would any other relationship and that is why my diary is booked six months in advance.

If you would like to know more about the Psychology of networking have a look just here!

Do It Now!

Have a look at this video about networking!

Seven great leadership skills…

I’m getting asked more and more by various businesses to help build the leadership skills of them and their teams. Lots of companies tend to underestimate the importance of great leadership training, in fact one business owner said to me “It’s my business, I pay the wages so they should all do what I tell them to do!”

Another example was when I was at a personal training studio just the other day and one of the coaches had told me that they had had a strong lecture from the head coach (Also the owner of the studio) telling them that they all had to wear the same branded work wear. Guess what the boss was wearing? A random holiday tee-shirt advertising a beer brand! Incongruent or what!!

These are not isolated cases either, I’m seeing it demonstrated all over the place and this type of leadership (Command and Control) is doomed to failure in the long run.

So here are Seven great leadership strategies that you might want to try in your business. Have a go for the next month and then let me know what different results you get in your business?

1- Build your self-awareness…

“Leadership has got little to do with figuring it out and more to do with feeling it out. It is about being aware. Leaders aren’t born; they evolve and to evolve you must first be self-aware. To develop leadership skills, allow yourself to be open, honest, and real. Be confident, not arrogant. Confident leaders lead through values, vision, and vulnerability. Arrogant leaders lead through fear, blame, and ego.”

2- Don’t hide anything…

“Your team can tell if you’re hiding something. It makes them uncertain or suspicious, both of which you don’t want. Lay out the rules of the game as you see them with your team. Let the team know where they are; work on a plan to go forward. Keep individuals up to date on their status as it relates to the group. All this forces you to have and share your vision, which is what makes you a great leader in the first place.”

3- It’s not about you…

“Repeat the words, ‘It’s not about me!’ every day, as many times a day as you can. Don’t make your leadership about being in charge, being right, getting promoted, or looking the best. Make leadership about the cause of the organisation, serving the legitimate needs of those you’re leading, and not taking yourself too seriously. You’ll have people lining up to work for and with you and the results will follow.” Try this book!

4-Lead from the front…

“Leaders need to show, not just tell. If you want your employees to be punctual, make sure you’re there on time — or even early. If professionalism is a priority, make sure you’re dressed for success, and treat everyone you interact with (both in-person and online) with courtesy. Set the tone and your employees will follow it.” Be aware of the Alpha male syndrome!

5-Have a positive attitude…

“Great leaders have an upbeat, optimistic attitude that serves as a source of inspiration for followers. If leaders seem discouraged or apathetic, members of the group are likely to also become uninspired. Even when things look grim and your followers start to feel disheartened, stay positive. This does not mean looking at things through rose-coloured spectacles. It simply means maintaining a sense of optimism and hope when you are all facing challenges!”

6-Learn to trust…

“Trust is the foundation for effective leadership. Exceptional work requires a degree of creativity. Set the expectations, but don’t micromanage. Trust your team to follow through, be creative and to get the job done. Trust builds loyalty, dedication and brings out the best in people. During the most critical moments, the strength of a trusted team pulls together to get the job done!”

7-Lead yourself…

“The most important person for you to manage is yourself. Hire a coach, talk to a mentor, do whatever it takes to manage yourself effectively. You are your best friend and your worst enemy and you look back at you in the mirror. Gain control of yourself and your leadership ability increases. By trying to control and micromanage others it decreases!”

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 look at your business in a different way then why not join one of my accountability groups?

Fancy it? Then watch this video!

Come along to my Entrepreneurs Business Club!

Are you planting Bananas & expecting to pick Cucumbers?

Are you planting Bananas & expecting to pick Cucumbers? In my experience life is all about cause and effect, do you remember learning at school that every action has an equal and opposite reaction?  Call it what you like, cause and effect, sow and reap, action & reaction one thing is for sure we are all currently getting the results of the action we have taken in the past. So I’m sure that you, like me, will agree that if we want something different we need to do something different!

As a psychologist I am always looking at the Behaviour of my clients, and come to that, at a lot of the people that attend ABC Networks and what I see is people getting a poor result and then moaning about it… How crazy is that?

Psychologists are constantly trying to prove or disprove theories and a theory that I have knocking about in my head at the moment is this… Small business owners that are currently not generating enough money and would like to, fall into one of two categories…

1 – They don’t know what to do to.

Or

2 – They know what to do but don’t do it.

If they don’t know what to do then that’s easy to fix; find out what you need to learn and then Do It Now!

The second group is somewhat harder to solve as they really do need to ask themselves why it is that they are not taking action on the knowledge that they have. For instance, do they really want what it is they say they want?

I speak to lots of small business owners and I’m amazed at how many people seem to have a different view of the sow and reap theory, for example they go networking don’t engage with people, they don’t get any business and then say that networking doesn’t work. They then try a different networking group, don’t engage again and funny thing is they don’t get any business again. Is this group 1 or 2?

This behaviour isn’t just restricted to networking events either, it happens in other areas of their business. A business owner I met recently was telling me about his current cash flow issues and how he gets ahead for a bit and then the same thing happens. I asked him what his systems were for collecting money from his clients and he said he hasn’t got time to put any systems in place because he is always chasing sales so he would have enough cash to pay his bills… Is this group 1 or 2?

One thing for sure is that it is absolute madness, to keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result, it’s just like planting bananas and expecting to pick cucumbers! It doesn’t work…

If you are happy with the result you are getting, that’s great. If not and you want a different result, then do something different and if that doesn’t work do something different and if that doesn’t work do something different! Are you getting the picture?

First of all you need to know exactly what result it is that you want and then you need to measure every day what has worked and what hasn’t. Every day I ask myself have I moved towards my target or away from it. If I’ve moved towards it, great, I’ll do more of what I did. If I’ve moved away from it, I’ll change what I did, it’s really quite simple.

It doesn’t matter what we do in life we can’t plant bananas and pick cucumbers.

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!

Before you choose your business coach or mentor have a look at these 6 tips!

If you would like to look at your business in a different way then why not join one of my accountability groups?

Fancy it? Then watch this video!

Come along to my Entrepreneurs Business Club!

Have a look at my Business Apprenticeship Academy!

Ash is the “FlipFlopPsycho!”

flip-flop-on-blue

What is hidden in your barn?

I was at an ABC meeting recently and asked the group what they would like me to speak about and I gave them a choice of Donald Trump or The Barn! All but one of them chose the barn, so, here is the same story for you…

Last summer my wife Sarah and I moved to the middle of nowhere in the Weald of Kent, it’s that quiet that the road where we live has grass growing in the middle of it. One of the attractions of the house for me is that there is a barn in the garden which is about 12m x 40m in size, the perfect man cave!

I had visions of a gym, pool table, cinema room and other boy type things. I started with getting the gym sorted and having a good area to train and all was going well when a client of mine asked if I could help him out with a favour by storing a little bit of his furniture?

Of course I said yes; now imagine my surprise when this articulated lorry turned up outside of my house… It blocked the road for nearly two hours while they unloaded all of the Rattan garden furniture which was stock that he hadn’t sold through the summer and wanted to store for next spring. The barn was full and had just about left me with a training area that was about 3m x 4m, tight was an understatement.

Like most things in my life I just get on and do it and look at the positives of any situation and thought it would all be back to normal come April.

In January two young ABC members challenged me and my mate Jamie to a little fitness competition, which in itself is great fun, however, if you know me you will know that I don’t enter anything half-hearted and I expect to win! So, we have five weeks to train for the competition on the 6th February. Training five days out of seven, three in my now confined gym space and two with Ross my personal trainer.

Two weeks into the training regime and Ross is off on his jaunt to Thailand with no consideration for me and this very important competition! (Just joking) Jamie and I decided to train together one a week at his place and once at mine. The first session at my place and Jamie walks into the barn and says “Bloody hell, this is tight, why don’t you move the stuff around and make some more room?” I said “No, I’ve looked and I think it’s about the best it can be.”

An hour later and some Tetris like thinking from Jamie we have moved all of this boxed up Rattan furniture into a completely new order and doubled the space for the training.

Now then, you might be saying what has this got to do with anything? Well, it reminded me that sometimes we can be too close to the problem to see the solution and sometimes to even see that there is a problem in the first place.

Maybe stand back from your life and business and look at where you are too close to see what you need to see to make the change that will give you the result that you are looking for.

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 look at your business in a different way then why not join one of my accountability groups?

Fancy it? Then watch this video!

Come along to my Entrepreneurs Business Club!

Ash is the “FlipFlopPsycho!”

flip-flop-on-blue