Touched

The energy in the room was high. Then in a reflective moment one participant shared “I can relate to that” and tears started to flow freely.

The atmosphere changed.

We had already created a safe environment for sharing that day, but the authenticity in the room soared to a different level. Attentively, everyone focused on the personal story being shared. It was a moment of high emotion and an intimate turning point in the workshop. In opening up in such a manner the participant had taken a great risk in approaching a vulnerable area in their life by sharing it so deeply. The silence was palpable.

Unwittingly, by speaking so candidly and tenderly, the participant had completely engaged everyone in the room.

Then it happened.

I watched, as those on either side felt impressed to reach out in a compassionate and reassuring way by physically touching our storyteller.

The whole experience had a profound effect on all of us in the room. There was a feeling of connection, togetherness and unity for a fleeting moment in time.

Deep and meaningful learning moments come quite unexpectedly at times. When they do, don’t be afraid to welcome them, gently explore them, embrace them and cherish them….forever.

Can you reach out and touch someone today?

A little push

“All it took was a little push” said the taxi driver.  Let me turn the clock back to one week ago.

My taxi didn’t arrive at the hotel.  Reception ordered me another one – it didn’t show either.  So, I walked to the taxi rank a few minutes away and took a taxi to my business client where I was delivering a workshop that day.  I always pay by card, but it turned out that he didn’t have a card reader, and I didn’t have any cash.  On the way, we stopped at a cash machine.  Then we talked.

Our conversation went like this…”So why don’t you have a card reader” I asked. “Well, I have been meaning to do that for a while now” he replied.  Probing further “How long is a while?”..”Oh, a few years I think.” We  then discussed the benefits of card readers, for his cash flow, for his customers, new business opportunities and his resistance to change.  I committed him to get the reader.

Back with the same client this week, I followed up with my taxi driver.  He is now the owner of a new card reader.  He is also benefiting in lots of ways and loves the new opportunities at hand.  For starters he’s had 6 fares from me to help him on his way! “Thank you again for the little push” he said.

Who can you help with a little push to get them on their way?

Choose the right

“There is a great loneliness in leadership, but, I repeat, we have to live with ourselves. A man has to live with his conscience. A man has to live up to his inner feelings – as does a nation – and we must face that situation.” Gordon B. Hinckley – 1969

Some may criticise me for posting this and there may be some polarised views, but these are the sentiments of my heart and mind.

Each of us will face key hinge points in our life, where moral courage and conviction is required. Last week, we witnessed, a lone man of conscience, Mitt Romney, doing the right thing.

Here are a few lines of his speech.

“Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine…”

“Does anyone seriously believe I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?…”

“With my vote, I will tell my children and their children that I did my duty to the best of my ability, believing that my country expected it of me.”

“It is not easy to be a man of integrity when all about you there are those who will forsake principle for expediency.” (Gordon B. Hinckley – 1969)

Choosing to do the right and let the consequence follow – is never easy – but it is the right thing to do.

Many will crow, lampoon and criticise Mitt in the short term. Yet generations to come will stand as a testimony to his fortitude to speak truth to power.

Choose to do right – always.

Good Manners

Okay, maybe I’m a little old fashioned, old school even, but isn’t it just good manners to show a little respect and civility?

Please.

Thank you.

Excuse me.

Can I help you?

Let me help.

I’m sorry.

May I?

You are welcome.

Take my seat.

Let me share.

You go first.

After 5 days of travelling across the length and breadth of the UK- trains, planes and taxi’s, my huge lesson is this – I know we can be more respectful, more patient, more courteous, more civil and much more polite to one another.

In my journeying. the platinum rule sprung to mind – “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them, not as you would have them do unto you.”

Respect, being civil, good manners, all lift people up! Think what will happen in our homes, offices, classrooms, and society in general if we just treated others with more civility and respect. Think what will happen to our relationships, to our health and well-being. Yes, life is stressful and often uncivil, but we can change that – little by little – as we choose to embrace civility and remember our manners, lets make them in fashion again!

Remember, manners cost nothing.

Please consider how you can show more respect for someone today.

What will you do differently?

Stay or Go?

“Do I stay or do I go?”

Hinge Points are pivotal moments of truth in our life – for some of us, they may be happening right now. Moments that are deeply personal and significant that enable remarkable life changes.  An instance, a point in time where strength of character should be shown, or a stand against the odds is required. Here is a story of my very own.

My personal journal entry – Tuesday 17th October 1989.  “Today, I had to make one of the most difficult decisions of my life.  I endeavoured to organise a line of thought that would actually have a positive frame of mind on the choice, the dilemma I was facing. Do I stay or do I go?”

The day before, I’d just returned from my first trip to the USA, where I had enjoyed the most fantastic 3 week holiday and road trip with wonderful friends.

The Situation

I returned to my job, Tuesday morning, to find that my employer had turned things completely on their head for me.  A great friend, colleague and mentor had been sacked…. Yes… Sacked!  In total shock and as I listened in disbelief to what had happened, my heart sank.  As the day wore on I became very, very disillusioned.  Finishing time couldn’t come quickly enough for me.  I went straight to my friends home to determine what had really happened.  As I listened to his story, it became clear that I was going to have to make an extremely difficult choice….Whose story was right? And ultimately the consequence…

Stay or Go?

I was 24 years old, still relatively young and inexperienced with the vicissitudes of life and more importantly business political life.  What should I do?  I returned home and spoke this challenging situation through with my parents. How grateful I was that evening for family who whilst growing up, had taught me strong values and principles .

Coaching

I shared the reality of the issue and we then considered every possible option that evening.  Little did I know it then, but certainly do now, that the coaching around options that my parents gave me that night, has become a stable model in my own coaching profession now, when having to consider choices in life. What was the right thing to do?  Could I work for an organisation that did these kinds of things?  It was a tough lesson for a youngster in corporate affairs.  The night wore on and my last entry of the evening was simply this…”I’ve decided to quit.”

There were many immediate consequences, including difficult conversations and very emotional situations to deal with.  However, the upshot was, I handed back the company car, faced up to the reality of unemployment, little money and endured a pretty challenging time for the next 3 months, until another (and better) employment opportunity arose.

Moral Courage

Courage requires consequence. If there is no cost, no risk or consequence, then courage is easy – and empty.  In fact, as consequence rises, so does the amount of courage needed to take a stand.  It is I believe in our very nature to admire those who stand against the odds, many great leaders come readily to mind. However, simply stated, courage is meaningless without consequence.

Where physical courage often prompts others to follow and take action, moral courage can be very isolating.  When a person stands on principle, speaks truth to power or tells peers what they are doing is wrong, others will sometimes fall away.  In my opinion, moral courage often puts people in a lonely place; and subsequently, extreme strength of character is required by anyone displaying moral courage.

Thomas S. Monson has stated that “Life’s journey is not travelled on a freeway devoid of obstacles, pitfalls and snares.  Rather it is a pathway marked by forks and turnings.  Decisions are constantly before us.  To make them wisely, courage is needed: the courage to say ‘No’ the courage to say ‘Yes.’ Decisions do determine destiny. The call for courage comes constantly to each of us.  It has ever been so, and so shall it ever be.”

Each of us will have to face up to ethical and moral challenges in life.  The clock continues to tick by, for your very own personal moment of truth to arrive…. and it will.  We may not be able to solve every corrupt action in the world, but each decision is taken one by one, by one… by you, me and others just like us around planet earth.

What decision will you choose to determine your own destiny?

Harvesting

What we sow, is what we reap.

Anything of great value and worth in life, takes persistence, patience and perseverance, as well as great attention to detail in order to ensure a great harvest.

Growing anything takes time. With any crop the process of fertilising and tilling the ground, planting seeds, weeding, feeding and regular watering will eventually lead to a great harvest. Sometimes bad weather can damage or destroy crops too and so a great deal of preparation is called for in order protect the harvest. I’m always amazed that one tiny seed, can multiply itself so many times over to produce a bounteous harvest.

So it is in life.

As a coach I work with people who are faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges. And yet, over time as we work together in planting new seeds, or work through a process that takes persistence, patience and perseverance – these challenges start to diminish, simply through the law of the harvest – reaping what you sow. Frequently, its never easy, in fact, its often difficult to face up to the challenges. Yet, with hard work and effort, I wholeheartedly believe, that through time, with the right help and using the correct tools, all of our harvests can be great ones, no matter how tough it may seem.

What will you sow today?

Support

Who supports you?

As a 4 year old, I set off with family and friends to climb this hill near Dunning, Perthshire. Since 1969, I have climbed this hill on many occasions, with my own children, family and friends. In fact it’s become one of my favourite spots on earth, to seek some peace, solitude and to reflect on life.

Just prior to my father’s death, I recall that we were talking about this photo. As we spoke about it, he asked if I could remember anything about the climb up the hill. I said “No”. He laughed and then responded “You can’t remember anything?” Once again..”No”. He then shared the story of our ascent. He told me that as we were about half way up the hill, I started to complain about sore legs and that I couldn’t make it to the top.

As we carried on, dad encouraged me and told me that I could make it. So, seemingly I persevered for a little longer, but then after a while, I told him once again – “I can’t do it”. As a loving parent, he picked me up, put me on his shoulders and carried me the last little distance to the top of the hill. Resulting with this photo taken a few minutes later – of a very happy child atop the stone for the very first time!

There are so many principles in this story about getting tired, taking my eyes of the goal etc … But most of all I want to make the point that in our conversations together, lets be ever mindful of supporting each other to achieve our goals!

Who can you support?

Commitment

Are you committed to succeed? Are you all in?

As I think of commitment, I recall a story as a young salesman in 1989. I had a huge territory – Scotland, down to Leeds & Manchester, plus every 6 weeks, I headed over to Ireland. Leaving Dunfermline early morning at the start of the week, I drove to Stranraer and caught the ferry to Larne. Then I drove all the way to Cork, always arriving late on Monday evening, to work my way home that week. It was always a long day and a long week – yet, I was committed to succeed. It wasn’t long before sales in Ireland literally took off.

We cannot accomplish anything, without commitment. “Work will win when wishy washy wishing won’t” – Thomas S. Monson.

Commitment as a word cannot stand alone. We must always ask, “Committed to what?” Dale Carnegie once said, “If you are not in the process of becoming the person you want to be, you are automatically engaged in becoming the person you don’t want to be.” Our journey through life is dotted with a series of commitments, interwoven with discipline – that can bring success – if we will consistently do what we have agreed to do. It isn’t easy, it’s never easy, yet a commitment to excellence will ensure that you obtain the success you seek.

I’m all in. Are you?

Mortality

As Goethe put it, “things that matter most are not at the mercy of things that matter least.”

As a teenager, only moments ago, I had time aplenty. Now, in my mid 50’s – I’m acutely aware of my mortality, my time here on earth is running out!

Jack N. Gerard observed “We live in a world of information overload, dominated by ever-increasing distractions that make it more and more difficult to sort through the commotion of this life….Unless we take the time to reflect, we may not realise the impact of this fast-paced environment on our daily lives and the choices we make.”

As I flick through TV channels, or scroll through social media, too often I find a world saturated with incessant noise, much of which is too loud, garish and crude. We need to pause and contemplate what we choose to do with the precious gift of time, before we fritter it away in frivolous “trivial tripe!” said James E Faust.

We don’t need more time. We have all the time there is. No one has more of it than each of us has. We must manage ourselves accordingly, rather than allowing conditions to manage us. Step back from the world – ask yourself how will I measure my life?

Treasure your time, value it, use it wisely. Much will come from very little effort.

What can you change today?

Punctured?

Have you ever felt a little flat?.. Yes, me too.

This personal story may help you to see things differently.

Just married and living in the Netherlands in 1994, I recall cycling home from my workplace at a Kaaspakhuis in Woerden when I got a puncture in the back tyre. Frustrated, I eventually made it home and began to repair the damage, in exactly the same manner that my dad had taught me so well growing up in Scotland. Removing the back wheel is always a bit of a pain. A few moments later, as I was busy with the repair, my brother in law arrived. Looking quizzically at me and laughing at the same time, he asked “What are you doing?” Cheekily, I replied “Isn’t it obvious!”

I was then given a life changing lesson on how to repair a puncture 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝𝙤𝙪𝙩 having to remove the wheel from the bicycle. An approach I had never considered before, dad always removed the wheel! A simple procedure that every dutch child learns to do at a very young age. Wow!! 😆

In a like manner, dealing with frustrations and challenges can sometimes puncture our enthusiasm and vitality for life, leaving us feeling flat at times.

I learned a great lesson that day, oftentimes, there is a simple way, a more obvious way to lift the trials from our life.

How about you?

Why don’t you slow down a little, perhaps there is an easier, more obvious answer to the problem at hand that you’ve never considered before!?