Sometimes, waiting is the answer

Looking around at the situations a number of my friends are facing I am conscious that actually for many this is proving to be a year already beset by challenge.  One of the things I have been very conscious of is the need to ensure we all take care of ourselves and each other first.  

We all smile, I am sure when we think of the airline steward showing us what will happen in the event of the oxygen levels dropping when thousands of feet in the air, well the reality is folks that sometimes in life you will suddenly realise that the oxygen levels have dropped in life and maybe you need to see the oxygen mask which has dropped from the overhead lockers and is floating around in front of you.  Its at times like this it is also important to remember the instructions which come with this – in the event of them dropping we would ask that you put your own oxygen mask on first before trying to help those around you.

It may be that you find yourself tired or not at your best at various points, and it is when you find yourself at these times it is so important to remember that this too shall pass, that it’s simply a feeling and once you have the right perspective and back in a good place you will be able to navigate to a much better place.

So as you travel through this year, may I encourage you to look after yourself and those around you.  By doing this we can make this a really amazing year and I look forward to finding out all about the exciting things that the year brings. 

One last thing, if there is anything I can do to encourage or support you – please do let me know, it’s one of the things I love to do the most.

That slightly confused and sceptical look when you tell them your not trying to sell anything…

I spent the morning today having a look around the Thames Valley Business and Community Expo.  It was a great opportunity to hear a couple of keynote speakers Brad Burton & Richard Woods.  It was also a good opportunity to catch up with old friends and make some new contacts as well.

As is always the case at these occasions it’s a question of allowing the exhibitors to explain the advantages of using them.  It’s always nice to hear people compliment me on being enthusiastic.  Just occasionally they do ask what it is your doing at the show…   Making Friends was my answer this morning, this got a variety of answers.  Many of which were on the spectrum from confusion to skepticism.  What are you selling?  No really I am selling nothing.  

Explaining that I am on annual leave from one organisation before starting a new job and that I will be in touch once I know a little more about what I am doing, was a great way to connect with new people.  It was funny though while speaking to a database company who clearly only deals with sales people,  there was a real disconnect with the idea of building relationships and not selling…  

The other joyous thing was to get to speak to someone in the early steps of their networking journey and being able to share some of the insights I have gained over the years of networking, and point her in the direction of Stefan’s great books & his facebook group.

How has your day been?

Such an exciting place – the future

As you may know, I am starting a new job on the 31st of October.

While I am keeping the precise organisation and nature of the job under wraps until then I am really enjoying this week off on holiday before I start the new job.  It’s giving plenty of time for enjoying time with the family and extended family.   I am also using the time to connect with old friends and making some new ones along the way.  That’s the joy of this social media thing.

I have been invited to be interviewed by a number of people for their radio shows, locally and nationally.

I am thinking about some people who I might be able to interview on Facebook Live as a way of getting to know complimentary businesses.

I have created a number of lists of people I want to meet up with and meetings I want to attend.

Yes I have not forgotten that the new organisation will have lots of ideas of their own and people they want me to meet too…

How is your week going, in the words of a wonderful friend of mine – what’s Great in your week, that’s now one of my favourite questions, thanks Sam!

Happy New You!

As I write this, I sit in the gap between my “old” job and my “new’ job,  I am so greatful for the opportunity to spend some time with the family but also to spend some time clearing down, both mentally and physically in readiness for the new challenge.

What is it about turning the page of a new notebook and making the first entry that can bring so much joy.

Life is filled with opportunities to start again, how often do we see all the adverts for diets, goal setting programmes, magazine subscriptions all centred around the beginning of a calendar year.  Then of course there is the academic year and that is before we think of any other faith calendars which may form part of your experience.

What excites me even more is the realisation that each new day and where neccessary, each new moment gives us a chance to draw a line and start again.

So no matter what your situation today, I want to give you the opportunity to decide that today is the beginning of the rest of your life.  It really can be.  Just because things have always been do not mean that they have to continue to be.  Sometimes the decision to change things is all that is required to set you on the road to a whole new life.

Don’t carry that heavy burden alone….

As I sit here, it’s shortly after 2 in the morning, and it’s dark, the only light is the glow from the iPad screen and I sit doing one of my favourite things, I’m brain dumping…  I’m allowing the events of the past days and weeks to flow through my fingers into my journal. 

It got me to be thinking how much we carry.  How the burdens of life can sometimes become so heavy that we can no longer manage what we have to carry.  It is at these times in life that we need to find ways to unload those things.  There are many ways you can do that.  Some are healthy, positive ways, whether that is speaking to friends, Going for a long walk, an hour or two at the Gym?  Some are less so, that 3rd bar of chocolate, 4th beer, I think you get the idea.

There are 2 other ways I would reccommend, one is to write them out, journalling is something which is so powerful in these circumstances, It gives you the opportunity to get the feelings and thoughts out of your head and in a place where you can see them, perhaps process and adjust your thoughts on them and work out a plan for how to move forwards.

Then of course I would suggest prayer, the joys of a faith journey is that Jesus always said that he would help us carry our burdens, as his words are recorded in  Matthew 11

Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.

We all need people we can go to with our burdens sometimes people who are not living in the middle of it are better to speak to than to those who are journeying through it.  I have the most awesome privilage of being a safe place for people to share, to unload and to give and recieve encouragement to carry on – if I can be that for you – I am only a call or a message away!

Go it alone – or chance being used by others…

This has been running around my head for some time…. Conversations with others of late have sparked it into my mind again so I thought it worth bringing to you…

Should we look to be independent, self sufficient able to do all that we need to do ourselves and not rely on anyone else?
There are some who would argue strongly for this, that they want to be able to know how everything they need to do works, that they are perfectly capable and don’t need anyone else. What I find interesting about this is when I look deeper into it is that often it’s still running alongside a desire for us to utilise their products or services. This is certainly not always the case but often is.

For me, I have always worked on the basis that 20% of the time I will get burned. Now this is not an open invitation and I have learned to be more discerning as the years go by, however that said I still work on the premiss that getting others involved will ultimately ensure that we all get to where we want to be. For me that is always a more enjoyable journey. If by helping others to achieve their objectives I can also achieve a step along the road toward mine then that is a positive outcome.

Knowing who can do something rather than necessarily being able to do it myself has always been my way of living my life. It is often true that I will know someone who can… just ask me and I would love to connect you.

Do share your thoughts – your experiences would love to hear from you

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Networking – it’s an interesting thing – as I discovered this morning

I just love mornings that make me think, today was just one of those, so much so that I drove back from Hammersmith to High Wycombe without the radio on in the car. This morning I was asked if I would substitute, take the place of a BNI member in Hammersmith.

There were a number of interesting things about this group. Those who know me well will know that I nearly joined BNI years ago but their views on competitive networking organisations (which have since changed I might add) prevented that from happening.

It was a large and vibrant group, I guess one of the benefits of being in London. The challenge with the groups location is for those arriving by car (as I was) that Parking restrictions mean for those who have driven in the post meeting discussions are a non starter. Which I guess only adds to the downside of the very early start. Clearly it’s a fantastic selling point that you can be at your desk by 9 and therefore not miss out on your working day. Which frankly misses the whole point of networking. For any business networking has to be an integral part of the working day and time spent after the formal part of the meeting is often the most productive – my loss.

Then there was the question of business overlap… It is a sad reality that we live in a culture of fear and scarcity. One of the “strengths” of BNI is that you won’t have anyone else in the group who does the same thing as you. Which I guess was fine in the day when the plumber only did plumbing and the solicitor only solicited, in a legal sence you understand.

Reading across the various things that I do in my portfolio of work, there were at least 2 potential conflicts of interest in the room, however this does not mean I am of any threat to those businesses on a number of levels. Interestingly one of them was with the very person who had asked me to sub for them. I was totally open about it before and explained how we operated differently and provided my reassurances of where my heart is and that I certainly would be looking to help and enhance rather than damage. After all, in my experience, help someone with their business and they will want you to do it again and not only that they may well tell someone else about you too. Damage someone and they will never let you do that and will tell everyone else to keep a barge pole between you.

So to sum up, it was a very productive morning, I have left with 3 names of people I did not know yesterday who have expressed an interest in getting to know more about what I can do to help them make the most of their apple technology. I have ensured that the other members of the chapter (group) know what my good friend can do in the social media arena and I have been able to spend some time thinking about what I might or might not do as I work on my portfolio career.

Do you have experiences to share of BNI or networking in general.

The world is how…. Who sees it??

They say that the world really is how we see it, yet the truth of the matter is that the world is how our client sees it.

I have been giving this a lot of thought over the last little while. Persuading people to give you their time to complete a survey, why would they? What would be a driver that might make them agree to complete it.

Its easy to ask people to give you their time because it enables you to get paid. In a results based job its really easy to think how little effort it would take on their part just a few minutes of their time enables you to keep a roof over your families head. I even mentioned that on a couple of occasions…. The reality was in those cases that the respondent expressed their “sympathy and understanding of the situation” which prompted further frustration in me.

The importance of the study, how it enables the government to make it’s decisions. Being able to take the opportunity to have your say are all likely to be better reasons for people to take the time,

At the end of he day I’m still not sure whether the 2nd approach would work for those who said no to the first, yet I think the 2nd approach is probably the best way to start the conversations.

What’s your experience

They are people too??

As I look back on my life and the variety of work I have done, I am struck by the variety of things and also of the many things I have learned.

Walk a mile in their shoes is such an easy thing to trot off your tongue. What if their shoes were the person calling you at 8.30 at night when all you want to do is watch your favourite programme. Or the girl stood at your doorstep needing your help with a survey? Perhaps the youngster just needing a moment of your time as you rush for your next meeting wanting to get you to think about giving just £2 a month…

Now please don’t Mis-understand me. I am not wanting you to give to every cause or just agree to meeting the double glazing sales person just because someone has called you. I am however asking you to think about how you say no or perhaps think about what they are asking for.

For so many of these people their “success” in getting you to sign up, fill in, talk to them and answer their questions will be the difference between them getting paid at the end of the month or not. How you leave them feeling at their end of their interaction is something you can control and you can leave them ready to face the next man in the street or you can leave them feeling dejected and unsure of whether they can go on. What a challenge and what a privilege you have to be able to brighten someone’s day.

So whoever you are and whatever you do today, see whether you can leave others feeling better for their interaction rather than worse because of it. They are after all people too, your rejection may be a part of their day to day job but you can choose how that will feel, or perhaps you might just be willing to stop, to give your time, your money your support in a way which will make a difference to the cause and to that person individually too.

Thank you is so under rated!!

How often do we really appreciate those who have made a difference to us.

Various conversations today got me thinking of the importance of this. Some of those people will know they are important to us but others may not know,

So take a moment and think through those people who have made an impact over the last week, then month, year, decade and life overall.
Now you have your list do you think you could let one of them know each week, every month?? It is not that it needs to be a big thing, maybe just something different. A card, a text message a token gift. I would suggest that it is something they can save and hold onto.

Oh and let’s not forget that the “big people” we come across on our stages or big screens are also real people so maybe send them a thank you too. The more specific we can be about what they did and the impact that it had the better.

Then thinking about yourself, do keep those messages in a safe place as and when someone sends you a thank you. Remember the event, cherish the appreciation and when the world tries to pull you down go back there and remember all that you are at your best. That people love and cherish you.

Finally do say It, mean it, show it and live it – a life of thanks is a wonderful life to live.