So, your patience is wearing thin…..

Perhaps a certain amount of impatience may be useful to stimulate and motivate us to action – do you agree?

“Patience -the ability to put our desires on hold for a time – is a precious and rare virtue. We want what we want, and we want it now. Therefore, the very idea of patience may seem unpleasant and, at times, bitter” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf

However, too often, we are impatient with ourselves, with our family members, friends, work colleagues and other matters. We seem to demand what we want right now, regardless of whether we have earned it, whether it would be good for us, or whether it is right.

Recently, our house sale fell through. It has been a difficult time. Consequently the topic of patience has raised it’s head in our home. Patience isn’t merely waiting, in my mind it means active waiting, enduring, staying with something and doing all that you can, including working, hoping, and dealing with the challenges that arise one by one. It also means accepting that which cannot be changed.

As important as patience is, in my experience we shouldn’t be surprised to discover that our lives are designed to give us many opportunities to develop it.

How can you take the time to develop your patience by being patient?


So, what a week that was. Seven days, eight places, people, presentations and I’m done with driving…at least for a while!

Preston, Chorley, Warwick, Luton, Westminster, Tunbridge Wells, Crawley, Cranfield and a long drive home. A full on tour of England and motorways! I met up with lots of old friends and former colleagues. In addition I made many new friends and had the chance to interact with people of all different ages in a variety of settings, workshops, meetings and presentations. It was brilliant! In fact I loved it! However, whilst in my 20’s, I was passionate about driving, now in my 50’s, well…enough said! But, for a host of different reasons, I was committed to make the journey.

Over the past few months, I’d made several commitments, to various people and organisations. Commitment as a word, cannot stand alone. We must always ask, “Committed to what?” I recognise too that we cannot become something without commitment.

The journey of success is long and is dotted with a series of commitments to worthy goals in life. A person does not become committed to worthwhile goals just by making a declaration or decision. It is through daily progression toward established purposes.

The time to commit and recommit is now.

What are you committed to?


I love this true story shared by Lynn G. Robbins recently, some great lessons about Taking Responsibility.

“In 1983 a few partners and I started a new ­company that taught time-management seminars and created and sold day planners.

For corporate seminars, we sent our consultants to the client’s headquarters, where they taught at the corporate training facilities. Prior to the seminar, two employees in our distribution centre would prepare and ship several boxes of training materials, such as the day planners, binders, and forms. Also included was a participant’s seminar guidebook of around a hundred pages with quotes, fill-in-the blanks, graphs, and illustrations.

The two distribution centre employees would normally send the seminar shipment ten days before the seminar. At the time that the following incident occurred, we were teaching around 250 seminars each month. With so many seminar shipments, these two employees would often commit errors, such as not shipping sufficient quantities or omitting certain materials or not shipping on time. This became an irritating and often embarrassing frustration for the consultants.

When these problems occurred, the seminar division would file a complaint with me, as the distribution centre was one of my responsibilities. When I spoke with these two employees about errors and system improvements, they never wanted to accept responsibility for the errors. They would blame others, saying things like, “It’s not our fault. The seminar division filled out the Seminar Supplies Request form incorrectly, and we sent the shipment exactly according to their specifications. It’s their fault. You can’t blame us!” Or they might say, “We shipped it on time, but the freight company delivered it late. You can’t blame us!” Another excuse was, “The binder subsidiary packaged the individual seminar kits with errors, and we shipped the kits as they were given to us. It’s their fault.” It seemed these two employees were never responsible for the errors, and so the errors continued.

Then something critical happened. The director of training for a large multinational corporation attended one of our seminars and was so thrilled with it that she invited us to teach a pilot seminar to its fifty or so top executives. On the day of the seminar, our consultant arrived and opened the boxes of materials and discovered that the seminar guidebooks were missing. Without the seminar guidebooks, how would the participants follow along and take notes? Their training director was panic-stricken. Our consultant did the best he could by making sure each participant was given a pad of paper on which to take notes throughout the day, and the seminar turned out reasonably well, even without the guidebooks.

Extremely embarrassed and angry, their training director called our seminar division and said, “You will never teach here again! How could you have made such an embarrassing and inexcusable error with our pilot seminar?”

An upset senior vice president of our seminar division called me and said, “This is the last straw. We are about to lose a million-dollar account because of the distribution centre’s errors. We simply can’t tolerate any more errors!”

As one of the owners of the company, I couldn’t tolerate such errors either. At the same time, I did not want to see these two breadwinners fired. After pondering possible solutions, I decided to implement an incentive system to motivate these two men to be more careful. For each seminar shipped correctly, they would receive one additional dollar, or a possibility of an extra $250 each month—hopefully enough to focus their attention on quality. However, if they made one error, a one-dollar penalty wasn’t much of a loss. I therefore decided to also include two $100 bonuses for no errors. With the first error they not only lost one dollar but also the first $100 bonus. If they made a second error, they lost the second $100 bonus.

I also told these employees, “If there is an error, you will lose your bonus, regardless of where that error originates. You are 100 percent responsible for that shipment.”

“Well, that’s not fair,” they responded. “What happens if the seminar division fills out the Seminar Supplies Request form incorrectly and, not knowing, we send the shipment with ‘their’ errors?”

I said, “You will lose your bonus. You are 100 percent responsible for that shipment’s success.”

“That’s not fair! What happens if we send the shipment on time but the freight company delivers it late?”

“You will lose your bonus. You are 100 percent responsible.”

“That’s not fair! What happens if the binder division commits errors in prepackaging the individual seminar kits? You can’t blame us for their mistakes!”

“You will lose your bonus,” I once again responded. “You are 100 percent responsible for that shipment’s success. Do you understand?”

“That isn’t fair!!”

“Well, it may not seem fair, but that’s life. You will lose your bonus.”

What I did was eliminate the anti-­responsibility list as an option for them. They now understood that they could no longer blame others, make excuses, or justify errors—even when they were right and it was someone else’s fault!

What happened next was fascinating to observe. When they would receive an order from the seminar division, they would call the seminar division to review the form item by item. They took responsibility for correcting any errors committed by the seminar division. They began to read the freight company’s documents to make sure the correct delivery date was entered. They began to mark the cardboard shipping boxes “one of seven,” “two of seven,” etc., with each box’s contents written on the outside of the box. They began sending shipments three or four days ­earlier than they had in their previous routine. A few days before the seminar they would call the client company to verify receipt of the shipment and the contents. If they had somehow omitted any materials, they had three or four extra days now to send missing items by express shipment. Errors finally stopped happening, and the employees began to earn their bonuses month after month. It was a life-changing experience for them to learn firsthand the power, control, and reward of being 100 percent responsible.

What these two employees learned is that when they blamed someone else, they were surrendering control of the shipment’s success to ­others—such as the seminar division or the freight company. They learned that excuses keep you from taking control of your life. They learned that it is self-defeating to blame others, make excuses, or justify mistakes—even when you are right! The moment you do any of these self-defeating things, you lose control over the positive outcomes you are seeking in life.”

There are so many lessons to be learned from this simple story.  Why not start by applying a few of them today.


I’m usually always very confident, but on this occasion I was terrified!

Last week on our visit to Gouda, in the Netherlands, parking the car proved to be a terrifying experience. A few hours earlier, I’d picked up the rental car at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. Whilst searching for a parking space, we could only find a few spots by the canal. There were no barriers on the actual canal to stop you from reversing into the water! I started manoeuvring the car into the parking space, my heart started to pound harder, then fear took over. In fact, it was terrifying. I realised parking this large car (which I’d barely driven) with its electronic handbrake – wasn’t easy. One wrong move – and we’d all be in the canal.

All I could see was the cliff edge of the canal! My imagination went into overdrive. Although I’d reversed into smaller spaces 1000’s of times before, the looming danger of the canal created additional terror. One by one family members said “Okay, I’m getting out”.

Then, our son Kyle came to the rescue. He got out and provided careful guidance, from different perspectives around the car. Little by little, bit by bit, he guided me into a safe position. With great relief, I stepped out, job done.

– Perspective & Focus
– Careful guidance by others
– Small Steps
– Little by little

All help to overcome fears!

Are your boundaries set?

It is never too late to learn about boundaries.  Are yours set? Why do they matter? Do you have poor boundaries?

We understand the need for boundaries in sports such as football, golf, cricket, hockey or tennis.  Boundary lines are clearly marked on the playing field.  Out of bounds always has consequences.  Similarly boundary lines are equally important in the game of life.  Boundaries reflect what we value most deeply. They are a form of empowerment, strength, and a way for us to align with our identity, our desires, where we stand and what we stand for in the world. Having strong boundaries means knowing what you like, what you accept and equally, what you can tolerate.  Are yours discernible? We need to recognise them and protect ourselves against hazards that will come in life.

I am sure that each of us will have our everyday boundary battles.  So – what about your boundaries – have you figured them out yet?  For example, are you regularly working more hours than you get paid for at work?  Are you covering someone else’s responsibilities as well as your own?  Are you frequently bringing work or stress home with you? Are you adopting a do it yourself attitude when it may be more helpful to delegate to someone else or simply ask for help?  Boundaries matter!  We all have the right to set boundaries and have them respected.

Here are some helpful tips to consider:

  • What do you really desire in life, what are your key values?
  • Consider those things that are acceptable and those which are not.
  • Recognise that it is okay to say no!

Sometimes, boundaries will be crossed, view these moments as instructive, rather than a backwards step. Recently I had an experience that pushed me across one of my own personal boundaries, and it was only after sleeping on it, that I understood the power of simply saying no!  In the process I rediscovered a unique sense of freedom and peace of mind too.  I think this post today has been inspired by that one experience, as I simply made a promise to get in touch with my own personal boundaries again and start to reinforce them – doing so, brings great relief!

Building boundaries takes time and practice.  Setting up personal and professional boundaries is not easy, but it is worth it!  In summary boundaries help you stand up for what you believe in. Boundaries include saying what you want and what you don’t want, and recognising that not everyone will agree with that. They help you become the person you want to be.  Know yourself!

So – on you go then, get on with it!  Start living them today!


Its time to polish the car again!

I don’t know about you, but cleaning, hoovering and polishing the car is important to me. There’s nothing worse than a dirty car.

In fact this Saturday morning, will be like many before, I’ll be out polishing soon!

It is not hard to notice when a car needs some tlc. This week I have put a few miles on the clock, however after a little bit of effort and polishing, the car will be shining again, just like new.

In a like manner, it got me thinking about how we are all in need of some tlc. However, I realised too that we are all being polished and refined through our experiences in life.

For example, this week through various coaching sessions, workshops I have facilitated, books I am reading and conversations I’ve had, I am acutely aware of the polishing I have received. I am feeling as if some personal rough edges have been polished, smoothed and perhaps, even in some respects (I hope) starting to shine. Like all of us, I’m a work in progress – and the polishing is very helpful! ”

A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials” – Chinese Proverb

How are you being polished?



Are you on the right track?

Living in Dunfermline, I have frequently travelled over the Forth Railway Bridge into Edinburgh and beyond on 100’s if not 1000’s of journeys over the last 50  years.  My dad started working as a fireman on the steam locomotives towards the end of World War II and spent virtually all of his working life driving diesel engines.  He had many stories to tell about the bridge, including the golden rivet and many a crossing during a stormy night (those are for another time!)

Recently, after delivering a series of coaching workshops in London, I returned north, departing Kings Cross Station, and got to thinking about a story I’d heard a number of years ago, by Gordon B. Hinckley….

“The course of our lives is not determined by great, awesome decisions. Our direction is set by the little day-to-day choices which chart the track on which we run.

Many years ago I worked in the head office of one of our railroads. One day I received a telephone call from my counterpart in Newark, New Jersey, who said that a passenger train had arrived without its baggage car. The patrons were angry.

We discovered that the train had been properly made up in Oakland, California, and properly delivered to St. Louis, from which station it was to be carried to its destination on the east coast. But in the St. Louis yards, a thoughtless switchman had moved a piece of steel just three inches.

That piece of steel was a switch point, and the car that should have been in Newark, New Jersey, was in New Orleans, Louisiana, thirteen hundred miles away.”

My question to everyone reading this article today is simply this…..

Have you thrown a tiny switch in your home, family, career or business life that has placed you on the wrong track?

Some years later Gordon B. Hinckley also stated that  “Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, side-tracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed.”

I believe it is never too late to get back on the right track and enjoy those beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed that we are all entitled to, in each of our individual life’s.  We simply need to recognise very quickly when we are on the wrong track and never be misled by the sunk cost fallacy.

I recently found a beautiful quote that captures my thinking for today, by Jim Rohn…

“I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacations with better care than they plan their lives. Perhaps that is because escape is easier than change.”

My invitation to everyone is to slow down a little, by considering what matters most and change if necessary.  If you are on the wrong track, you can get back on the right track anytime, by simply throwing a little switch…..!

Therefore, what?

Puzzled, quizzical or completely lost by the keynote address?

Frequently I listen to talks, read journal articles, books galore and sit through lots of presentations as well as attend many meetings. Do I understand what the key message was for me? What does all this mean? Was it just a lot of hot air? (sometimes it is!) Subsequently, at the close of the address, the meeting or the book, oftentimes a thought will enter my mind….”Therefore, what?” It was a favourite call to action for Boyd K. Packer.

By implication, after all that has been shared, after all that has been said, what is the call to action, what does all this mean for me – “Therefore, what?”

The words of encouragement, the purposeful direction, the inspiring motivational speaker’s counsel will not make one jot of a difference in our lives if we choose not to change. Have you been inspired by someone or something?

“Therefore, what?” Its my experience that there are many who have not made the connection between what they say they believe and how they actually live their lives. There is a disconnect between words and actions.

Does this apply to you? Why not consider this question at the end of your next meeting, next presentation or next book.

I know I can do better. How will you choose to act?


The Dangers of Pointing out Faults in Others

It is all too common place and easy to find fault. Do you often point out what is wrong with others? Are you critical of others? Do you frequently fault-find? Are you judgemental? Does this make you miserable? Are you hurting others by pointing out their flaws and weaknesses?  If this describes you, this habit is probably ruining your life, you just might not realise it.  Are you where you want to be with this challenge in your life? What are you going to do about it? Read on – this may be uncomfortable reading for you…

Faultfinding is “the act of pointing out faults, especially faults of a petty nature.” Or in other words – continual criticism, typically concerning trivial things. Pointing out others shortcomings, flaws, criticising, carping, nitpicking, murmuring, using slander, regularly using pejorative terms about others, griping or perhaps in its worst form backbiting (attacking the character of another). Is it hazardous to your well being? Pointing fingers, judging others? Are all of these behaviours dangerous towards others? Is it an issue of pride perhaps? Is it ruining your life? The self righteous and smug thoughts that can provide a fleeting emotional boost, don’t lead to happiness. In my experience those who fault find the most, tend to be amongst the unhappiest people in the group or organisation. For a moment, lets pause and reflect upon how this may be adversely effecting you.

Faultfinding can and does twist the way we see others. It can also drive a wedge between you and others. For some reason or another, we may see ourselves as better or even superior. In essence we become intolerant of the weaknesses of others, in turn distorting the way we may view our own faults. From time to time I think we can all be a little prone to look at the weaknesses, limitations and failings of others. Through my coaching career, I have found that there are some who find fault and criticise in a very destructive way, which can be extremely debilitating to those on the receiving end. There is a huge difference from this, to providing constructive criticism and feedback.

By sad experience, I have found too that if I choose to pursue a course of faultfinding, not only do I usually end up hurting other people, I also end up hurting myself even more. By focusing on faults, we usually end up creating more divisions. Sometimes silence is the better option, with some truths best left unsaid.

Inevitably, in our own career and life journeys we are going to have differences with others. The things that cause us irritations vary widely from person to person. The question is not whether we have such differences, but how we choose to manage them. So – what can we do about it? How about considering each of these options….

  • We can choose to simply overlook the difference
  • Or – reserve our judgement and postpone any action
  • Perhaps even take up the differences privately with the person involved and have a courageous conversation with them.

Personally, I like the old cliche, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Gordon B. Hinckley suggested “each of us turn from the negativism that so permeates our society and look for the remarkable good among those with whom we associate, that we speak of one another’s virtues more than we speak of one another’s faults.” So, why not start expressing gratitude more often towards others. One of my personal habits which I have posted regularly in the past about is keeping a daily journal. It is a great way to increase self awareness. Frequently, I record the things that I am most grateful for. Subsequently, I can promise you that you will soon begin to see a difference in your life and a positive byproduct will be, that you will stop judging others, seeing them in a different light.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf shared the following story. “While looking for a new home, a young couple talked to potential neighbours about the neighbourhood and the schools in the area.

One woman they spoke to said of the school her children were attending: “This is the most incredible place! The principal is a wonderful and good man; the teachers are well qualified, kind, and friendly. I am so pleased that our children can attend this wonderful school. You’ll love it here!”

A different woman said of her children’s school: “It’s a terrible place. The principal is self-absorbed; the teachers are unqualified, rude, and unfriendly. If I could afford to move out of this area, I’d do it in a heartbeat!” The interesting thing was that both women were speaking about the same principal, the same teachers, and the same school.

Have you ever noticed that people can usually find whatever they are looking for? Look long and hard enough, then you will discover both good and bad in almost anyone and anything.

Remember, we can always look in the mirror, pause, reflect, carefully consider and honestly examine ourselves and our motives before we choose a comment to express, or a course of action to pursue. We need to examine our own minds, our own thoughts and motivations – but most importantly of all – consider our own flaws! As I do so, I am then acutely aware of my own personal imperfections – there are far, far too many to list here!! CS Lewis observed “It is no good passing this over with some vague general admission such as ‘Of course, I know I have my faults.’ It is important to realise that there is some really fatal flaw in you: something which gives the others just that same feeling of despair which their flaws give you. And it is certainly something you don’t know about……” He suggests further that…”Whenever the thoughts come unnecessarily into one’s mind [about others], why not simply shove them away? And think of one’s own faults instead?” After all what else is there to do?

I am always looking for ways to improve and change, hopefully for the better. We need to learn from our mistakes of the past, each of us have many choices to consider. We can continue to seek for the faults in others, or we can make peace with ourselves, search our souls and find the good in others. By so doing, we can work to extend to others the understanding, fairness, goodness and kindness we most likely desire for ourselves. Ultimately, we have a choice to make. However, I truly believe that whatever we desire to seek, we most certainly will find.

By considering the past, living in the present and looking to the future, let’s endeavour to cultivate the habit of noticing what is good, lovely, endearing, praiseworthy, kind, delightful, hopeful, brave, and inspiring in others. Let’s stop fault finding. Be an example of change, correct your own faults and be the best you can be. Turn your energy and motivation to looking for the good in others – always! I promise, that you will find freedom there and that you become a light for many, many others in your journey through life.

Points to consider.

  • What are my own faults & flaws?
  • Whom do you need to look at differently?
  • What further step can I take to be the good in someone’s life?
  • What will you do to change how you see others?


Are you ready to lead? Are you sure? Why should anyone be led by you?

Many years of preparation and following others had led to that moment. A challenging situation, required decisive action. When the call came, I was ready. Instinctively I knew what to do. A leader steps up to make difficult decisions.

Don’t wait for an invitation – see the potential in yourself! If you’re starting out your career, say “yes” when someone sees the leader in you and offers you a chance to practice and develop new leadership skills. I recall many years ago, a wise leader said to me, “Daryl, what are you doing here?” It was a powerful challenging call to action, and it set my career direction. He and I both knew I needed to take another path – I just needed a push.

Are you aware of your personal values, do you know what they are? If not, then you need to know what is important in your life and what really matters most to you. How can you influence others if you don’t know what really matters to you?

Alexander Graham Bell observed “Before anything else preparation is the key to success.” Start early, be steady, observe, listen and learn how to follow. Be open to learning and growing.

What can you do now to prepare for the call to leadership? leadership