Sunday, 21 October 2012

Few of us are perfect, and we don't need to be!

On Sunday, I had a terrific realisation. I felt like chillin' out - so I did. At the end of the day, curiously, I felt absolutely no guilt about that! 

"Curiously?" you ask? Well, yes!

There was a time when I could not conceive of relaxing because that was an unmitigated waste of time and life is so short! The sad part of that whole story was that I really did believe it; and it cost me! 

It cost dearly really, because of the simple pleasures that I have somehow managed to miss along the way. The days when I could have, and really should have, gone to watch my children play football - or simply taken a stroll along the shores of a lake with my wife. 

I am quite 'gutted' now, to think that all that time that I spent worrying about things that I really could not control. The irony is that I knew that I couldn't control those things anyway - but somehow wantonly watched myself waste that valuable time regardless. Is this rational - and more importantly - is this sane behaviour?

Well, I'd hazard a guess that it is neither and as I sit here and write, I can't help but smile because of the senselessness of it all.

I know that once I publish this - I'll gaze upon it later, and be ashamed of the stupidity which I allow to take hold in my mind.

I think that part of the learning process, and the 'improving process' - is having the courage to face up to my imperfections and allow them to just simply be. 

I think that I once heard that in the entire universe, only one kind of thing is perfect - and that is the timing  of the light emitted by a pulsar. I am not an astrophysicist, so I have no idea whether that is true or not - but suppose it is - hell, then I am in great company. Nothing else in the Universe is perfect - just like me.

So, I guess my 'perfect school teachers' fall into that mould too. They probably weren't perfect either.

I wonder - might not that have been (and still be) a valuable lesson to teach to children? 


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Simple is not easy

I struggle to understand a lot of things - I am not perfect and neither do I wish to be. I really do believe that part of the joy of living is to be found in the overcoming of struggle.

To my mind, struggle is God's way of strengthening us enough to bear the tasks for which we were each uniquely designed to deliver - but this is not the purpose of this post.

I had one of those days yesterday - when nothing at all went right. In fact, from the morning - everything just seemed to go 'pear-shaped'. I know deep within, that thinking anything other than this is another one the challenges designed to make me grow, is counter productive. So, I get that, and I am prepared not only to live with it, but to learn to embrace it and indeed love it. Therein lies the magic of living.

But, here's the bit that I don't get.. .. ..

I had an appointment (set up) and doubly confirmed for 3:30pm. So, I make sure that I run my last appointment like a well-oiled military operation to get to that appointment on time. I go to great lengths to make absolutely sure that I do what I say, when I said I'd do it and how I said I'd do it. When I get there (4 minutes to spare) - I call my appointment to let him know that I'd arrived and that I'd wait for him outside the restaurant. Five minutes after schedule, nothing. Ten minutes after schedule..still nothing; no acknowledgement, no call - abyss.

Fifteen minutes - I decide not to look like a spare part - and besides, it was getting cold - so I go inside and order a cup of coffee.

Twenty minutes - nothing. Okay - Now what do I do? I usually give a fifteen minute window before I think it's time to take it as read that that'll end up being a no-show.

I waited half an hour. Still nothing (I needed to finish my coffee anyway)

I wanted to be mad as hell - but I have been going through something of a transformation lately, so I decided that I'd not be upset by it - it was an inconvenience - but I didn't really suffer any great loss (comparatively speaking).

So, what I'm grappling with is what causes people to commit commercial suicide? The long and the short of it is that my 'opposite number' has communicated so much. Conduct speaks so much louder than words. In the fullness of time - what impression do I now have of someone who could not do something as simple as call to offer one of three conditions:
  1. He could have cancelled beforehand - and thus saved me from making a twenty seven mile trip that I really did not have to make
  2. He could have sent me a text afterwards to offer an apology or
  3. He could have called afterwards to offer an explanation.
These are such simple things to so - and it could have made a huge impression. But no!

So, I thought - let's reach for and try touch the spiritual aspect of this situation - so what I did was to email this person and offer goodwill, even though he didn't show up. So, I titled my email "I don't know what happened but it must have .. .. .."

And in the body of my email wrote
"As per our emails below, I was at XXXX as arranged. I called you but your phone was off – I did leave a message :-)

Whatever your reason for not turning up, I am sure it must have been a good one.

Be well."

... and signed it off.

Well, the net effect of this is that I received a reply offering an explanation and an apology and I have had to force myself to have the good grace to accept the apology. I am not sure that I accept the explanation  though because it involves the health of a family member which he described as 'ongoing'. Well, if it was ongoing, why wasn't that anticipated and built into the mix?

Anyway - Like I said - simple is not easy!  

Monday, 19 March 2012

The greatest gift

I received an email from a client of mine on Friday and all it said was this:

"Hi George, just for your info/comments, here is the email I sent regarding the Holiday Cottage idea- and reply! 

m xx"

There's a story to this - and the email from her was just one of the most precious gifts I have ever received and here's why.  .  .

This is a beautiful soul, and for the sake of her privacy, I shall just refer to her as Em.
I got a call from her some weeks ago in which she almost implored me to 'save me from myself''.

The genesis of this story is in a Networking meeting in which she heard my presentation where I declare that my coaching style takes people on an amazing adventure, in which the participant is very likely to meet the most amazing person they are ever likely to meet - themselves.

Em was dealing with personal parcels for a long time which just simply weighed her down and stopped her from doing what her authenticity declared that she should.

Well, to cut a long story short, we got into session, and she very speedily located one of the 'parcels' in her mind that has stopped her from fully experiencing her life.

Now, one thing I have got to say about working with a coach, and that is, you have got to be brave, because coaches aren't there to be clowns, they're there to be coaches and as such can make some pretty tough demands along the way. Em, is one of those gorgeous souls who just trusted implicitly, and just set about attacking her fear right where she found it, and started to do that which she feared.

Her approach to the Holiday Company is something that she really wanted to do because she knew that could add value. Every time she even thought about an approach, her self-doubts, insecurities and simple 'self-sabotage self talk' would kill off any and all initiative even before she began.

"Well", I hear you ask "what happened?"

The long and the short of it is that Em got busy - she attacked the source of her 'immobility' and had the most amazing outcome because much to her surprise, the Holiday Company replied within 48 hours. Not only that, it turns out that they are already looking at an initiative along the lines that she described - and as a matter of fact, had established contact with a vendor already; however, they have got some immediate considerations on hand at this time, and will resume contact with her by the 6th April 2012.

Now on the face of it, this may not appear like a massive vistory, but in actual fact, in a metaphysical way, this is exactly like the mighty Yangste River - small beginnings. Here's why:
  1. It has taught Em, that she should trust her instinct and ACT; and not rationalise! Had she acted when she'd first thought of it (about 9 months ago) - she'd have been in there already. They (the holiday company had only called in her rival about 6 weeks ago)
  2. It has liberated Em's power to act by allowing her to allow people to make decisions for themselves, and not make those decisions in her mind for them (other people!). By not acting previously, EM made other peoples' minds up for them, and usually, it was in the negative.
  3. It has taught EM, that 'NO' is okay. People are allowed to say 'NO' - removing the personal emotional connection from the word NO, frees us up to take more action, and consequently experience more WINS.
So why is this the best gift that I had received?

It's simply because I now truly know what my purpose in life really is. It's in the service of humanity. I know that I can't change the world, nor do I want to. But I do have the privilege to watch, read, see and hear the excitement in the life of another.

The liberation of potential that was always there is truly one of life's greatest blessings. One does not have to be a coach to experience such rich blessings though. The most wonderful thing you can do to grow another, is simply to believe in them and give them a reputation to live up to.

Some will fight you, some will not; that's okay.

I have long held that the most powerful number in the world is 1. Now, I know why!


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

I've been tagged!

Paul tagged me. Well, since I am still new here, I think this is a great opportunity to get to know some of you.

Firstly, here are the rules - and then we'll get on with it:

The Rules:
  1. Post these rules
  2. Post 11 random things about yourself
  3. Answer the questions set for you in the taggers post
  4. Create 11 new questions for the bloggers you tag to answer
  5. Tell the bloggers you've tagged that they are it
  6. . . .and, No stuff in the tagging section about "You're tagged if you're reading this!"
Right, 11 Random things about me:
  • I am born in the star sign Leo
  • Passionate about people development from stopping smoking, to stopping dieting to breaking out of comfort zones
  • Hate to see animals being hurt in any way
  • Love walking the dog every day - he's a Staffie, so walks are very brisk
  • My favourite TV show is Law and Order: Criminal Intent
  • I grill a mean peri-peri chicken
  • MacDonald's is for me a brilliant example of a system that works
  • I love living in the UK because I get to visit beautiful ancient castles
  • I spend every Monday night in a study group
  • I visited Loch Ness a year ago and Nessie failed to turn up!
  • I spend far too much time on YouTube
Now, to answer Paul's questions:

What is your favourite past time?
Reading my Kindle - what an amazing piece of kit!

Place of retreat?
Well, if on holiday, then Inverness, Scotland - if at home, somewhere in the Welsh Hills

Favourite Food?
My mother's deefried and creamed prawns

When are you at your happiest?
When I am in service to people. Whenever I work with someone and we reach successful outcomes, I am thrilled to beyond and back

What is your greatest desire?
I have one major backlog of books that I have got to read and assimilate; my greatest desire is to focus on the task in hand and get them read and mastered.

What is your proudest achievement?
I took on a hige project one time. Someone once suggested that you ought to bite off more than you can chew, and then, chew like hell. I took it literally and delivered, ahead of time and below budget. I still love that achievement - 9 years later.

Did you have a favourite teacher?
Oddly enough, Paul mentioned his Latin teacher. What is it with Latin teachers? I loved my Latin teacher too. His name was Sydney Klevansky - what a guy. he filled our minds with such wisdom and always said - to be successful is simple - you have got to learn to be the person your mother thinks you are! - how profound!!

What have your learnt about yourself recently?
Without getting into too much detail, I have discovered when the chips are down - I can really depend on myself to find a solution.

Who is your favourite performer / artist?
Al Pacino - every time: what an incredible actor - I love hsi versatility and intensity.

What are your goals for 2012?
My major goal is to systematise my business and emulate the MacDonalds business model - deliver knowledge transfer that sticks, is accessible and useable so people can change and shape their lives to their order - consistently.

I now tag these people:
Maas Journal 

Here are your questions:
  1. Do you believe in the stars? Yes, why? No, why?
  2. If you could be anywhere else right now, where would that be and why?
  3. Have you got a favourite wild animal? If yes, what is it?
  4. Do you like what you do for a living?
  5. Imagine for a moment you have absolutely no limitations - what would you like to be doing with your life?
  6. How do you like to spend your free time?
  7. Are you a summer or a winter person?
  8. Who, apart from you, has shaped your life the most, and why?
  9. Tent or Hotel for taking breaks?
  10. Aspirations?
  11. if you could learn any language in the world, apart from your mother tongue, what would it be and why?

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

I just got the shock of my life.

Here's how it happened:

I had an inbox message from someone telling me that my website was non-compliant and that I should address this. Now that, by and of itself was not, nor would ever be a problem. I certainly believe in social inclusion - and that people who are not of able body ought not to be excluded from any social or business activity.

But, what had happened was - I received a Facebook notification, from a 'facebook friend' telling me to go and have a look at the new website. Now, I have to tell you something about myself - that is, I didn't do it!!

I have some trouble accepting unsolicited messages - especially when they are complete spam and and now somehow permissable because it is facebook.

So, I receive this invitation, along with who knows how many other people - when I get this sarcacstic inbox message advising me that 'it was nice to see how compliant my shiney new website is'. Now, in days gone by, I'd have had reacted immediately - but I wondered what was in the mind - so I answered with a question to acsertain what the full meaning of the message was. To which I received another terse, triumphalistic response advising that I fell foul of compliance rules. The note went on to say that it was for my own good - Imagine that!! (Now take your floggin' son, it is for your own good!)

Well I replied that it would have been great advice if the site were mine - and since I had nothing at all to do with it, perhaps he (the man who contacted me) would probably be better served if he checked his factual content before making such allegations.

To cut a very long story, very short - it ended with me receiving an apology - but it came after some very sharp pieces of my mind were dispensed. I thought we were inboxing one another, and that my messages to this individual were private - imagine my shock, surprise, guilt and shame, when I was notified that a friend of mine in South Africa actually 'liked' the rebuke. I wasn't trying to score any points, but to correct a situation. This is certainly not how I like to roll!

The moral of the story folks is this - even in private - be gentle with people because you're always on display; someone is always watching.

I'll be more careful next time!!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Isn't life a smorgasbord of wonderful opportunities?

Every day, life presents her menu of choices to us, and says "Here's what's on the menu today. I know you may not like everything here, no more that you liked your greens when you were a child.  You didn't want to eat your vegetables then, but now in the fullnes of time, I know that you're glad you did!

You've also seen how your children chose not to like their greens but how now, that they've grown up, they're essential meal-time inclusions for them!"

Yesterday, here's what life said to me -
"So today here's what I offer to you! The man for whom you're delivering your training today, has been let down by his supplier for tomorrow! I know that by the end of this evening you'll have been at it for twelve hours!"  "You'll get home past midnight, and you'll need to be back here by 07h30 - the temperature outside will be -8 tonight and even colder in the morning; the roads will be treacherous and what is ordinarily a one-and-a-half-hour drive will take a little longer"
"Are you up for that?"

And I said to life - "You know what - why not?"

To which she replied - "Great, here's the tricky bit - the subject matter is someting about which you have absolutely no knowledge!"

And I said "You have got to be kidding me!!"

"No, I am not!" "But I know that you have one key ingredient that will help you!"

"And that is. . .?" I half replied, half enquired, cynically!

"The ability to ask great questions!" - . . . And therein was my answer.

I accepted the challenge and I had the most wonderful experience. I simply told my delegates today
"The subject I am about to present, I have no knowldege of - so, here's what we'll do, I present it to you by asking questions about what things mean!"

They loved it - and so did I - and the ratings they gave me defied reason.

Saying "YES" to life means trusting her enough recognise that she will give us what we need - and trusting ourselves enough to take stock of ourselves . . . and to enjoy the experience!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

I called my friend and colleague Marianne today.

"Marianne!" I exclaimed - "I do beg your pardon: Remind me - did I say I'd call you today, or did you say you'd call me?"

"I said I'd call you" she replied - "and I apologise that I haven't done so yet!" - I was about to say "Hey, no worries, you've probably been busy!" when she interjected and said "a good friend of mine passed away today!"; "She was only 49"; "Cancer" she went on in her broken, considered way.

"OOOOh mannnnn!" I thought, "She was a baby!".
It's amazing how fast we can think - how much data our brains can process in the most compressed frames of time.

"Her name was Elissa!"; "Elissa-Jane!" 

I screamed inside my own head - "Oh my gosh!", and instantly I felt wracked with guilt.
I knew her; and the last time I thought about her, my thoughts were angry!!

Suddenly, the full meaning of 'it's a short life!' came home to me. Actually, it wasn't a gentle arrival - more like a hammer blow!

Here's what had happened. Elissa had stood me up - she made an arrangement to turn up to a meeting and she simply didn't do it. No apology, no explanation! I was, needless to say, annoyed! The worst was, that she'd done that more than once.

But, the last time I saw her was at an event last year (2011) in Cardiff, and she told me that she had cancer - I obvioulsy felt for her - Lord knows that I have people close to me who have been touched by this scourge.

"Coffee?" she asked at the event,
"But of course!" I replied, and with that, the date was set. This was June, last year.

Blow me over with a feather - I sat there at the Village Hotel when I received her text message to say
'sorry, can't make it; feeling a little low!" - and with that, the steam coming out of my ears was visible for all to see.

"That's just it now!" I raged inside myself, "I will never again even agree to even see this person, let alone meet up with her!"

What a difference 7 months makes. . . . Now, here I sit and contemplate - what the hell was all that about? How short life is; she probably did feel crap on the day that she sent me her text, and I was probably too busy being angry to hear what she was really saying.

"So, I'll call you back tomorrow George" Marianne said - I didn't have the heart to tell her that I didn't hear a word she'd said; I was too busy being absent . . .again.

I'm sorry Elissa, wherever you are . . . .