Georgina Walsh Business Coaching

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Spring Forward

Posted by February 12th, 2020

It’s the first day of Spring with sunshine breaking through the clouds and some furious nest building in the trees outside my window.

Spring is my absolute favourite season,  full of promise, green shoots, new ideas and growth.

Are you ready to use the change in season to Spring Forward?

What better way to do that with some Big Hairy Goals to really push you into a big spring forward. Big Hairy Goals are the sort that feel rather daunting but you’d be so thrilled to achieve:

  • What Big Hairy Goals would you like to achieve in the longer term either 1,3, 5, or 10 years time?
  • To achieve those longer term goals what Big Hairy Goals would you like to achieve by the end of this year?
  • To achieve those  end of year goals what Big Hairy Goals would you like to achieve by the end of Spring / beginning of Summer?

Once you’ve got your goals make sure you put them into action – no procrastination! In thinking how to achieve them here are some things to ask yourself:

  • What is the main habit that slows your productivity – how could you lose that habit forever?
  • What could you turn on its head and approach how you do something in a totally different way?
  • How would your mindset or actions be different if you had nothing to prove or nothing to lose?

Get out of your comfort zone, get Big and Hairy and go for it…..and enjoy the results of Springing Forward!

Are You Crossing the Knowing – Doing Gap?

Posted by October 11th, 2019

Do you find that whilst you are really, really busy doing a lot, you never quite getting round to the bigger projects or ideas that you know you need to do?

If so, you may not be bridging the ‘Knowing – Doing Gap’ (Pferrer & Sutton). You KNOW what you need to do, for example, re-design your website, get a new project underway, de-clutter your office, but you never seem to quite get round to the DOING.

….it is quite simply a lack of time, isn’t it? However, in looking at why people have difficulty in crossing this gap Pferrer and Sutton don’t identify time issues.

…maybe it’s a lack of knowledge or information? In the times we live in we are falling over knowledge and information on how to do things – but all the knowledge in the world is useless  you put it into action and use.

… and maybe you feel you are doing it – but things just don’t seem to be moving forward in the way you would like.  Often we can feel we are taking action, but in reality we are doing things such as, planning, discussing and making decisions – but these are not action!

So, what is it that stops us from making that leap from knowing to doing? In many instances it can be something within ourselves – either fear or a lack of confidence that is holding us back.  We can then tend to turn these inner feelings into assumptions.

For example, one of my clients knew she needed to do a new business drive, but as many of you would agree, picking up the phone to contact people you don’t know or don’t know well is a daunting task. She was failing to cross from knowing what she needed to do to actually doing it. Her fear and lack of confidence turned into the assumption that many others would be chasing these prospective clients and as a result she would be seen as an annoyance if she contacted them. 

We worked together to challenge this assumption and give her the confidence to pick up the phone.  As a result she has met with quite a few prospects, started to build new relationships and of course has gained some new business.  Whilst others in her shoes are still sitting on the other side of the Knowing Doing gap and finding reasons not to pick up the phone.

So here are my questions for you –

•        What do I need to do that I am not doing?

•        What is holding me back? Is it fear, a lack of confidence, or both? What assumptions am I making?

•        What do I need to do or tell myself to overcome that fear, lack of confidence and/or assumption?

•        Lastly, what specific actions do I then need to take to jump over that Knowing – Doing gap?

Have you got 2 minutes now? Make your plan with a pen and paper (or ipad!) right now – what will you do and by when to get you over that gap and moving forward? 

Let me know how you get on, I would love to hear from you!

The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action, Jeffrey Pfeffer , Robert Sutton

Do You Have ANTs?

Posted by June 3rd, 2019

They pop up suddenly in your head and scurry around like crazy. ANTs, otherwise known as Automatic Negative Thoughts, can distort and derail your thoughts and therefore your actions. The more negative thoughts you have the more chemicals you produce that make you feel sad or stressed….which can lead to even more negative thoughts.

If you are suffering from a lot of ANTs, you are unlikely to be able to move forwards with enthusiasm or ease, they can really hold you back.

They can be sneaky too – they appear without warning, and seem so plausible at the time that it’s hard to argue against them. BUT you can, and you must. Ridding yourself of ANTs makes your head a much nicer (and more productive!) place.

The first thing to do is acknowledge some of the ANTs you have; You may find thoughts that include “I’ll never be able to…” “I always do badly at….” “Everyone else is better than me at….” “It will never work…..” Write them down to get them out of your head and help you look at them in more detail.
Then acknowledge the affect they have on you; What is this ANT costing you in terms of work, life, happiness, productivity, relationships with others?
Learn to recognise them and eliminate them; You want to get into a positive spiral of thoughts and moods, not a negative one. Some questions to help you zap away those pesky ANTs are:
– Is this really true?
– What is the evidence?
– Am I exaggerating?
– So what if it does happen?
– What other ways can I look at this?
– What would I do/ could I achieve if I didn’t have this thought?
– What can I say to myself each time these thoughts come to me?
– How can I reward myself for zapping them away?

I hope your bug control goes well! Keep working at it and you will find you have less and less ANTs to deal with, helping you to feel both happier and more productive.

January is for Planning….February is for Action!

Posted by February 5th, 2019

Do you get all fired up at the beginning of January to make the coming year a brilliant one?  Lots of plans, bright ideas and enthusiasm?

Yesterday, I spoke to two people who were just like this.  But everyday business and life had begun to swallow up their bumper-year plans.  They were in danger of not prioritising and getting new things done.  The result; a similar year to last year, good but not great, when they really wanted their year to be bigger, better and brighter.  Does your January run in a similar vein?

So I helped them get their bumper-year planning finished, and they’re now ready for Action:

If you need to get ready for action and shake up your year, here are some pointers:

  • Get your planning done! Be strong, be selfish and carve out the time you need.
  • Get it done this week, by the end of next at the latest.
  • Create your goals for the year.
  • Then break those down into goals for each quarter.
  • Then concentrate on a bit of micro-planning so you get some good momentum going. Break down what you want to achieve each week for the next month.  Be clear and specific and push yourself out of your comfort zone.
  • Then it’s time for ACTION – particularly anything new and different you want to achieve.
  • Think about the resources you need.
  • Include in this the mindset you need – this is crucial and will make all the difference!  How do you need to think differently so you really excel this year?
  • And the support you need – again, this is so important, from simple accountability to expert knowledge and guidance.
  • Get this all in place as soon as you can and get going – no excuses!

Wishing you a fantastic and bumper year!

How to Set and Achieve Your Goals

Posted by January 8th, 2019

Welcome to a guest blog from Fred Stuvek JR, author of It Starts With You, Turn Your Goals into Success.  I hope it helps you to get your year off to a fantastic start! :

Each year millions of us start the year with one or more resolutions or goals.  While these resolutions are made with the best of intentions over 80% of the people who make them will fail to keep them, with most of them falling by the wayside within a month or two. Many of you reading this have likely had similar experiences.  The reasons for this are manifold, however, this break down or failure essentially comes down to five factors – motivation, goal setting, mindset, habits, and discipline. If you are cognizant of these factors, address them upfront, and follow through your prospects are immeasurably increased.  Continue reading if you want to know WHY this is important, WHAT you need to do, and HOW you need to do it.

Motivation – The first question you have to ask yourself is why are you setting these goals, why is it important to you, and how will it make a difference in your life? Whimsically establishing a few goals without looking beyond the reasons for it and the desired impact on your life is a formula for failure.  The goals you establish should be internally driven and established by you, not by external forces.  The more you define the benefits of achieving these goals the greater your prospects for success as you envision the broader implications.  For example, you may decide to take a course in a certain area to broaden your knowledge or expand your education.  The benefits are you will learn something, expand your expertise, keep yourself sharp, and force you to adopt good habits which will carry over into other areas – all of which will serve as a catalyst for advancement in your professional life and enrichment in your personal life.  As another example, you may set a goal of losing weight.  When doing so consider the implications and the myriad benefits.  You will feel better, look better, be healthier, and have more energy which will convey a more positive self-image and enhance your non-verbal communication. It will also result in others gaining more confidence in you as you are seen as someone who can achieve their goals and get results.  Realizing the positive impact achieving your goals will have in these various aspects will instill a greater belief in what you are doing, thus increasing your resolve and motivation.

Goal Setting – You are likely familiar with the acronym SMART as it pertains to goal setting i.e., specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-related. Every single aspect applies when setting your goals for the new year, however, you need to go further and dig deeper.  One of the mistakes many people make when establishing goals of this nature is that they are so sweeping, broad in nature, and aggressive that they over reach and set themselves up for failure.  Once you have a certain goal in mind develop a realistic understanding of the various actions which are involved to get there and the associated timeframe.  Understand it is not one thing but a series of actions, over time, that will get you there.  Break your goal down into smaller, more measurable steps called objectives with timelines or milestones attached to them.  Having a series of short-term objectives which you achieve that are associated with a long-term goal reinforces the fact that you are making progress, albeit one step at a time, all of which reinforces your behavior as these small wins mount up into a great victory.

Mindset – The body follows the mind, if the mind is strong the body will be strong. For this to happen you have to have a firm belief in what you are doing and the associated benefits. Don’t go into this thinking it is going to be a walk in the park.  Understand it will take time and effort, there will be setbacks, but vow to yourself to stay the course. Be determined, resolute, and 100% committed.  Change your vocabulary.  You no longer “think” you can do it, you “know” you can do it.  This isn’t something you “should” do, it is something you “will” do. Do not allow yourself to opt out just because things aren’t going the way you want them. Remain undeterred by the naysayers or negative minded individuals who offer their rationale as to why you will not be successful.  And last, but not least, ditch the excuses.

Habits – If nothing changes, nothing changes.  The reason you are making this resolution is because of bad habits.  To do this requires a change in behavior, and if you are not ready to change, you are ready to fail since only a change in behavior will enable you to reach your goal. Stay focused on what you want to do and what you need to do to achieve your goals.  Putting your goals in writing and reviewing progress on a regular basis is not optional, it is mandatory, as these actions reinforce behavior and ingrain the process into your memory.  Take a look at those activities and habits that contribute towards attainment of your goal.  Conversely, be cognizant of those activities which detracts you from those activities which are necessary to attain your goal, such as social media.  Associate with those people who are supportive of your goals, even sharing it with them, as if they are truly friends, they will be supportive of your cause and offer encouragement.  Moreover, by sharing your goal with others it helps infuse you with a greater degree of accountability since others are aware of and supportive of what you are doing.  The more allies you have, the greater the prospects for victory.

Discipline – Discipline is the soul of your journey. You will never achieve your goals without discipline.  Discipline will enable you to remain steadfast and resolute and give you the will to take the necessary actions and adhere to the regimen required to achieve your goals. A lack of discipline will result in excuses and allow you to become easily distracted or dissuaded from doing what is necessary to achieve success.  Once you have defined what you want to do and why you want to do it you have to develop a routine that is supportive of you attaining your goal.  Stick with this routine and make the commitment to follow through.  Over time this new regimen will become ingrained as small successes mount up, bad habits are abandoned, good habits are developed, and you are in control.

Now you have an understanding of the basic factors which all come into play when one sets goals and moves forward to achieve them.  However, let’s drill down into this even further and go step by step to better define the process for you and give you a roadmap.

  • Establish Three Goals

Why three?  Everything you do affects another area of your life, directly or indirectly, just succeeding in one area does not bring real change.  So, give some thought as to what areas of your life you would like to change taking into account both your professional and personal life.  Consider these points:

  1. Why is it important to you?
  2. What is the desired end result?
  3. Set both extrinsic and intrinsic goals to achieve a proper balance.
  4. Ensure the goals are realistic and attainable with a degree of challenge.
  5. Assign timelines to these goals.
  • Alignment Assessment

Your goals should be conducive to your lifestyle, work hours, habits, and personal life.  If you set goals which require time you don’t have available or are out of sync with your lifestyle or routine you are merely setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.  These points should be questioned:

  1. Do these goals align with who you are and what you want to be?
  2. Are these goals consistent with your values?
  3. Are you striking the proper balance so you do not overtly neglect one area in your pursuit of these goals?
  4. Do you have people around you who are supportive of you attaining these goals as it is difficult to go it alone?
  5. Are you truly motivated and committed to attaining these goals since half-measures or partial commitment will not get you there?
  • Development and Definition

In pursuit of your three goals what specific actions must you take towards attainment of your goals?  Visualize your desired outcome and do the following:

  1. List the actions you will have to take for each goal.
  2. Assign objectives or milestones for each goal.
  3. Put timelines associated with each objective or milestone understanding that the sum total of meeting these objectives all contribute towards achieving your goal.
  4. Anticipate the obstacles you will overcome and how you will deal with them.
  5. Ensure they are realistic and attainable, but not without challenge since meeting these challenges will make attainment of your goals more rewarding.
  • Prioritize and Document

You only have so much time and resources, so without prioritization it is a sure-fire method to ensure nothing gets done – or at least gets done well.  Documentation is mandatory since putting them in writing provides clarity and avoids ambiguity.  Documenting your goals also gives you a road map and keeps you more aware of your goals and your progress towards them, resulting in greater focus and fewer distractions.

  1. Consider which goals are most important and rank them in order.
  2. If you can’t decide go with the one you are more confident in attaining.
  3. Set deadlines in attaining these goals with milestones listed towards attainment of each goal.
  4. Share your goals with your family and close friends who will be supportive.
  5. Understand you may not completely achieve 100% of your goals just as a company rarely attains 100% of its’ goals.
  • Review, Adapt, and Revise

You should periodically review your goals to assess where you are and make adjustments as necessary.  To do this, a checklist is imperative, as each accomplishment of a milestone towards will serve as a source of satisfaction and motivation.

  1. Periodically review your checklist.
  2. Adapt to changing circumstances, do not be afraid to make revisions that make sense.
  3. Maintain a positive mindset and firm resolve, undeterred by setbacks, and continue to move forward.
  4. Do not be afraid to ask for help and seek support as needed.
  5. Maintain the self-discipline which is required and ditch the excuses.

Remember, at the end of the day, change only comes from within.  You are accountable to only you.  If you adhere to these steps above it will not be a matter of success but one of degree of success, which starts with you.

All the best,

Fred Stuvek, Jr

My Biggest…and Simplest, Productivity Tip Ever

Posted by November 29th, 2018

Being able to think clearly. See the wood for the trees. Concentrate on what really matters – these are things I hear so often from people who want to improve their productivity.

And the answer to be able to do all of these? Quite simply, Clear Your Head.  It produces amazing results, and best of all isn’t too hard to do.

Our brain is brilliant, but not totally brilliant. It’s great at holding everything we need to do, but not so good at keeping it all organised.  This means thoughts pop up in your head like toast in a toaster. So just when you are sitting down to focus on a big bit of work – pop – your brain reminds you that you need to send that email to Sarah.

Your brain thinks it’s being helpful, and you can’t blame it for trying – you had indeed not quite remembered to email Sarah, but it has also distracted you from what you had just started to focus on.

It can take over 20 minutes to refocus on a task if we are interrupted.  And your brain has just interrupted itself.  Not an ideal situation for productivity or thinking clearly. Although Sarah might get that email a little sooner now.

So, do your brain and your productivity a huge favour.  Get everything out of your head; it relaxes your brain and helps it think in a bigger, more organised and productive way.  It literally stops sweating the small stuff when it knows that you have noted it elsewhere, and so it focuses better and thinks bigger.

Here are five simple steps to get you there:

1.Choose your Medium; Whether pen and paper, an app or a spreadsheet. You need something that will allow you to write a list of everything you need or want to do.

It’s best to choose something that allows you to list tasks and sub-tasks. Be wary of procrastinating because you can’t decide what to use – in which case, just start simply with a pen and paper.

Once you have it all out of your head you might find it easier to decide how best to manage it.

2.Find An Hour; Just an hour, or maybe 90 minutes tops. This is so little time compared to the boost it will give you. Try to find an hour in a nice, settled environment.

3.DO IT! Start by writing down each area of your work life and your home life. Every area you can think of, and then below those write down the things you need to do in each, going into further sub tasks or lists when needed.

Squeeze every last thing you can think of out of your head, if you need to get new batteries for the TV remote – put it down.

Once you have everything out of your head you may be saying  “OMG, that is so much to do, help!” or  “There doesn’t seem as much there as I thought, why was I in such a panic” or somewhere in the middle. What I can guarantee is that your brain will be feeling lighter and more settled knowing that you now have a solid list of everything it has been carrying around for you, and you’ll now be able to tackle it in a more organised way.

4.Create a Simple System: Here the important word is Simple. Whether using an app or a paper to do list.

  • Keep making a note of the new things you need to do as soon as they come to you, so they are immediately taken out of your head – I have an app that syncs with my phone, desktop and ipad so wherever I am I make a note.
  • Have a little review at the end of or start of the day, so you start work each day knowing what your top priorities are.  As everything is out of your head and therefore easier to see this should now be much easier for you. Ensure you are realistic about the length of time things will take.
  • Enjoy getting things done in a more orderly way, and take note of which bits of your system are working for you which aren’t. Continually tweak how you run your system until it’s perfect for you.

Lastly, keep with it.  Do not get this far and then fail to keep up with getting things out of your head. Changing your habits can be hard. But once you are up and running it is so liberating, and gives a great feeling of being in control with a solid list at your finger tips.

Your brain will love you for it, and repay you by putting all its superb energy into thinking in a bigger, more strategic and focused way.

Good luck and let me know how you get on!

Goal Setting to End Your Year with a Flourish

Posted by September 12th, 2018

How did it get to September?! The nights are drawing in and with a plethora of blackberries and apples ready to be picked I have a cheery autumnal Sunday lunches with delicious fruit crumbles on my mind.

Crumbles aside, I find this is the time of year to take stock, a great time of year to think back but also to think forward.  We are approaching the final quarter of 2018 – so what do you need to do over the next 3 months to ensure you end the year on a high? To make sure you see 2018 go out with a bang and the pop of a champagne cork?

Follow my 5 Minute Coffee Break Goal Setting Formula to ensure you end 2018 as you would like to. Grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea (or a glass of wine or beer if it is that time of day) and a clean sheet of paper, or clean sheet of ipad.  Then jot down the answers to the questions under the 5 minute prompts below:

Minute 1: What have been your successes over the first nine months of the year? Write down all the good stuff you have done – often people start their goal setting by focusing on the negative – what they haven’t achieved – let’s start with all the good stuff that you have achieved.

Minute 2: Now think about what you have not achieved but would have liked to – don’t beat yourself up about this, just use it as a realistic assessment of your progress so far in 2018.

Minute 3: Sit back and close your eyes and take yourself to New Year’s Eve 2018 – what would you have liked to have achieved by then that would really make you feel proud, delighted and generally rather chuffed with yourself.

Minute 4: Formalise that general chuffedness into 2 or 3 clear goals (Make them as SMART as you can Specific, Measureable, Relevant, Achievable and Timebased).

Minute 5: Break those goals down into smaller goals to achieve in each month October, November and December

Lastly, Minute 6, give yourself a cheeky extra minute to think about what New Year reward you will give yourself for having achieved these goals.

Now you can start to plan each week between now and Christmas with tasks that work towards your monthly goals and ultimately towards your ‘Finishing 2018 with a Flourish Goals’.

Good luck and let me know how you get on!

Want to Think Big? – Get Off Grid

Posted by May 24th, 2018

I have just come back from a wonderful, wonderful time in Morocco where I managed to clamber up Jebel Toubkal the highest peak in the Atlas Mountains.

Beautiful scenery and a physical challenge where two of my main motivators, but there was the added bonus of disappearing ‘Off Grid’ for two days.  I realised it was ages since I was truly away from the modern world AKA the internet and email.

With a big sense of freedom and wonderful open blue skies, my brain felt free and open and that led to some great big new thoughts and ideas.

So maybe you can’t head up a mountain anytime soon – but how could you get yourself Off Grid and get that sense of freedom and tranquillity to do some big and different thinking?

Where’s the place?  I would suggest it isn’t at your desk, identify somewhere you find peaceful and relaxing.  Maybe you want to be walking or doing some other physical activity, or maybe it is about being truly still and calm?

What do you need to do to truly get Off Grid? Your can’t often think big or blue at the flick of a switch, you need time to relax and you need to limit distractions, so build in a good dollop more time that you think you need.   Go ‘Off Grid’ by switching devices off – no cheating by switching to vibrate – turn them OFF…..and then KEEP them off.

What’s your brief? A free and relaxed mind still needs a bit of direction, so make sure you have some areas you want to think through or explore.  You will probably find that once the thoughts start flowing you have additional ideas in other areas too.

Need some questions to free and push your thoughts?  Here are some to get you started:

  • Where do you want to be in 3, 5 or 10 years’ time?
  • What is the one thing that could make the biggest difference for you / your business?
  • What would you / your team do if could not fail?  If money was no object? If you weren’t scared or had nothing to prove?
  • What would your most admired competitor or leader do?
  • What could make something twice as effective?
  • How can you do less and achieve more?
  • What ‘shoulds’ can you let go of?
  • What important but not urgent things are you neglecting that could really push you forward?
  • And finally keep asking yourself…..What else?

I hope that produces some good thoughts for you.  Let me know how you get on and in the meantime I’m off to plan my next mountain climb.

Climbing Mountains with Ease – 5 Steps to Stay Productive

Posted by April 23rd, 2017

Do you find overwhelm creeps up on you far too often?  Sometimes you might know its coming, for example, you might have a couple of big orders in the pipeline, but at other times it can be a bit more sneaky – and  you can unwittingly find yourself with that unpleasant panicky and stressed-out feeling.

It feels like you have a huge mountain to climb (or many mountains!) and you just don’t know where to start.

When you’re overwhelmed your productivity can nose dive….which of course leads to even more overwhelm. Then life and work are just no fun at all.

Working as a business psychologist and coach I have found some things over the years that have really worked for my clients. Best of all they are simple to put in place, yet very effective.  Here is a quick and simple 5 step plan for beating overwhelm and increasing your productivity, so you can race up those mountains with a spring in your step – and  actually enjoy the journey!

Step One: Find some Space.

Space to think, space to breathe, space to plan ahead, space to prioritise. Never under estimate how a bit of time out or mental space can help you be more productive. Try to build in some form of exercise every day no matter how little. It  will help you think more productively, and to prioritise. Try to take regular time off, go and do something different or failing that work from somewhere different now and again.  If you simply can’t get away from your desk, you can still  find time and space by taking five or six big long breaths.  This will relieve stress, bring oxygen to your brain and help you think more productively and clearly.

Step Two: Smarter not Harder.

There are lots of ways that you can work smarter not harder.  Once you’ve worked out your key priorities,  you can decide what to put to the bottom of your to do list, and what to take off it entirely! Work out what you can outsource or delegate, and of course use technology wherever you can. What apps or software could help lighten your load to make your journey upwards easier rather than harder? For example many of my clients use QuickBooks to deal with the financial elements of their business, and things like Hootesuite or MeetEdgar to help them manage social media. Additionally, is there anyone who’s expertise or support you can call on to help you move forward with more ease?

Step Three: Small and Forward.

When you’re overwhelmed you tend to look more at the big picture and can stall because all you can see is that enormous mountain in front of you. Every mountain is climbed by taking slow and steady steps. Such steps will help you prioritise and outsource.  For each key priority look at it as you would a mountain – what are the base camps to reach along the way i.e. your key milestones. Work those out and then start taking small bite-size or baby steps towards each milestone or camp.  Breathe deeply, and enjoy the views, as you start moving forward you begin to feel more in control and build a sense of achievement.

Step Four: Swallow your Frogs.

This concept comes from Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy, a top personal effectiveness guru. It is based on an old saying that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that it’s probably the worst thing you’ll do all day. To ensure you keep moving forward at a good rate, set yourself the goal of swallowing your two worst frogs as soon as you get to your desk each morning. These are the ones you are most likely to procrastinate on, but also the ones that will help yourself and your business move forward the most.

Step Five: Actually do Them!

Nothing that I’ve written here is rocket science, but the problem is when we’re feeling overwhelmed and underproductive we do not always think clearly, and we don’t always do what we know we should do. Make sure you make the leap from knowing to doing. Plan the above steps into your daily routine – or the steps you know will make you more productive and then ensure you Actually Do Them!

Good luck, happy climbing and let me know how you get on!

Beat Procrastination with 3 Simple Words

Posted by March 29th, 2017

red eyed tree frog isolated“I’m still swallowing my frogs!” an old client exclaimed when I bumped into them the other day. We worked together 3 or 4 years ago, but this nugget was clearly something that had really stayed with him, and more importantly was working well.

If you haven’t heard the phrase before, it comes from the book Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy, a top personal effectiveness guru. It is based on an old saying that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that it’s probably the worst thing you’ll do all day.

Try using ‘swallow your frogs’ as a way of tackling the most challenging task(s) each day. These are the ones you are most likely to procrastinate on, but also the ones that will help yourself and your business move forward the most.

Bumping into that client was very timely for me too.  I had been feeling scratchy and irritated about the progress I was making on a project.

I realised the scratchiness was coming from my procrastination on a specific part of the project. It was a frog that was jumping around, annoying me, but not being swallowed.  It has now been swallowed, progress has been made and the scratchiness has gone.

So whether you were already familiar with the phrase or not, it’s good to have a reminder on eliminating procrastination:

  • What is the main ‘frog’ you have been avoiding swallowing?
  • When will you swallow it and get it done?
  • What can you do from now on to swallow your frogs earlier in the day, every day?
  • How can you stop yourself from falling back into old procrastinating habits?
  • How can you recognise when you are procrastinating?, take for example my feeling of scratchiness.

Good luck and let me know how you get on, and how many frogs you manage to swallow by the end of this week!

If it’s Good Enough for Wills and Kate

Posted by April 14th, 2016

It’s all high excitement with my brother getting married this weekend….and in Westminster Abbey of all places; crikey that really raises the stress on what to wear!

My 11 year old daughter is a bridesmaid and whilst very excited, is also nervous.  I keep telling her to focus on what she can control. So whilst she can’t control the awe of the venue, and the feeling of lots of eyes on her, she can focus on taking deep calm breaths, small ladylike steps, looking out for the younger bridesmaids and smiling (a lot!).

When we are being pushed out of our comfort zone, our mind can run away with us. We think of everything that can go wrong, fear can really take hold (False, Expectations, Appear, Real). This prevents us from doing our best and can lead us to sabotage ourselves.

So next time you are feeling nervous, a bit discombobulated and frustrated that you’re stopping yourself from performing at your best; stop and take some deep slow breaths, and think about what you CAN and what you CAN’T control.  Put the things you can’t control right out of your mind, there is nothing you can do about them. This can be very liberating in itself!

Then really focus on what you can control.  For example you can’t control who will buy from you, but you can make sure:

  • You have researched your customers and know exactly what they want
  • You get your message out to as many people as your marketing imagination and budget will allow
  • The product you’re offering is as good as it can possibly be
  • You collect as many testimonials as you can from satisfied customers

Get in the habit of drawing up a list of Can Control / Can’t Control or a circle with Can’t Control factors on the outside and Can Control factors and ideas on the inside.

Good luck and let me know how you get on!

Exhilarating Journey

Posted by March 28th, 2016

SkiingWhat’s your favourite type of holiday? Mine is skiing; it’s great to feel the freedom and exhilaration of flying down the slopes…although I’m not always entirely in control!

As I whizz along in beautiful surroundings and dazzling sunshine (check out the view in the photo from my last trip) I remind myself that this is the feeling I want have in my business.

  • How do you want to feel in your business?
  • What do you need to do to get and keep that feeling?
  • How do you not want to feel?
  • What do you need to do to stop that feeling and prevent it from re-occurring?

It also reminds me that I want to enjoy the journey I take with my business, and this has also come up with a few of my clients recently.

Enjoying your business and its journey are so important, but there have to be harder parts too.  Think of it as traveling over a mountain pass. It’s hard work, but rewarding, and the view from the pass and the next valley awaiting you are always worth it.

  • What can you do to enjoy the journey more?
  • And to ensure you are pushing yourself to travel fast and far enough?

A client the other day was struggling to move forward; not enjoying where she was, nor the thought of moving forward. We devised a strategy of looking on the areas she was uncomfortable with as playing, as a bit of an explore and experiment. That immediately took the pressure off and she moved forward with success and enthusiasm.

  • How can you take the pressure off to help you move forward?

So those are some of my reflections from my last trip to the sunny Alps.  I hope they help to bring you an extra thought or two about your business.

15 Minutes to Increased Productivity

Posted by February 29th, 2016

Haflinger an StalltrIt’s a good job I love variety.  One minute I’m having a five star break in Dubai, and the next (literally, as soon as I got out of the car on arriving home) I’m mucking out a stable in the dark and rain that’s needed urgently for a horse.

…..and my stables brings me to meditation.  It was one of my goals last year to meditate, I tried everything, books, apps, and lots of sitting or lying quietly. I failed! I just couldn’t slow my brain down enough, but I’ve realised that I already have a form of meditation.

I often say to clients, try hard at what you want to achieve; but if you’re not getting there, think about how else you could do it; work out a way that will suit you better.

I often spend 15 to 20 minutes at lunchtime mucking out the stables.  I’ve discovered that this delivers a lot of what I wanted meditation to deliver for me. After a dose of fresh air, activity and leaving three stables all fluffed up and comfy, I feel centred, refreshed and I’ve often thought through a problem or had an idea or two.

This also fits with an article about increasing productivity and success through taking 15 minutes out every day. Have a read here. How can you carve out 15 minutes a day to help you increase your productivity and success? I’m presuming it won’t involve horses and wheelbarrows!


Posted by December 3rd, 2015

Gate Lodges Small1This is a picture of my brother’s gate lodges, small and beautiful. I walk down past his house to these lodges every day with dogs and children to the school bus. They are small but they are perfect.

As I walk I often think about the future, next steps, next goals (including next holidays!) and growing my business.  Today I was thinking big about 2016, and found I was feeling stressed! This feeling made me stop and think. Whilst it’s good to push yourself out of your comfort zone, it’s also good to take stock.

Like the gate lodges, some smaller things are pretty perfect. I thought about my business and the vision I had for it 5 years ago, when I moved more into coaching and away from consulting. I realised that I was exactly where I wanted to be, I don’t have the very biggest business in the world, but I have built what I wanted to build. It is small but it is perfect. Yipeee!

That doesn’t mean I won’t be pushing myself in 2016 and continuing to build my business and stretch myself. But its reminded me to always keep in mind the following:

  • Vision – are you clear on what you want to achieve? Have a read of my blog on creating your vision
  • Be VERY clear on what you need to put in place to get there
  • Remember not to compare and despair – don’t look to others and think you are not far enough along. Everyone has a different path and pace, choose the right one for you.  More on the blog here
  • Lastly, remember to take note of your achievements and celebrate your progress and key milestones – what’s all the hard work for if you don’t get to celebrate!

Are You Using the 3 Steps Rule?

Posted by November 3rd, 2015

VECTOR POLYGON PATTERN NUMBER ICONS 3I’ve been working with a team of 35 managers in Oxford over the last year.  I’ve just come back from a very upbeat and positive session with them.  However, things were not always so upbeat.

During our first session together we looked at everything they wanted to address or improve. Having come through a period of change and restructuring it was quite a long list!

I did what I also do with my small business clients. I helped them to narrow down their focus to just 3 key areas.  Asking 35 managers to whittle down a long list to 3 priorities is hard, and when they managed to get to 4, that was fine, I let them off the hook.

Within each of those areas there were lots of things to be addressed.  Again, I asked them to just choose 3 things to focus on in each area.

What I was so pleased with, a year on from the start of our work together, was how much they had achieved, how positive they were and how keen to move onto the other things that need to be addressed.  They would not have achieved so much or be feeling so positive and resilient if they had tried to address everything at once.

For all of us it can be hard to move forward when there is a mountain of things to get done. 

So do use the 3 Steps Rule whenever you feel overwhelmed or stuck (or the 1 Step Rule or 2 Step Rule if you are feeling super stuck!)

Let’s take Marketing Plans for example, you could use many different marketing channels but starting with just three, for instance, referrals, a newsletter and social media can often bring better results than if you created a bells and whistles marketing plan with 6 or 7 different channels. Get those three running well and you can add another channel, and then another one.

The 3 Steps Rule can often avoid you grinding to a despondent, over-anxious halt.

So, where can you apply the 3 Steps Rule today?


Posted by October 12th, 2015

20150921_130031Dubai, New York, Mexico, Mallorca. These are all places I have been lucky enough to visit this year.

Flexibility, freedom and the ability to travel are all really important to me.  I love the business I have created around how I want to live my life.

What about you?

What are the important things for you?  Is your business helping you get enough of these?

Work through my 5 Minute Coffee-Break Goal Setting Formula to help you create the business you want:

I always like to find 5 Minutes at this time of year to plan what I want to achieve by the end of the year.  So when those corks pop at New Year I’m chuffed to bits with where I am, and know that I’ll achieve the things that are most important to me the following year too.

Grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea (or a glass of wine or beer if it is that time of day) and a clean sheet of paper.  Then jot down the answers to the questions under the 5 minute prompts:

  • Minute 1: What have your successes so far this year? Write these down – often people start their goal setting by focusing on what they haven’t achieved – let’s start with all the good stuff you have achieved.
  • Minute 2: Now think about what you haven’t achieved but would have liked to – don’t beat yourself up about this, just use it as a realistic assessment of your progress this year.
  • Minute 3: Sit back and close your eyes and take yourself to New Year’s Eve …..and then to next year’s New Year’s Eve  – what would you like to have achieved by these two dates that would really make you feel proud, delighted and generally rather chuffed with yourself.
  • Minute 4: Formalise that general chuffedness into 3 or 4 clear goals (Make them as SMART as you can Specific, Measurable, Relevant, Achievable and Timebased).
  • Minute 5: Break those goals down into smaller goals to achieve in each month or each quarter.
  • Lastly, give yourself a cheeky extra minute to think about what New Year reward, this year and next, you will give yourself for having achieved these goals.

Stepping Back is the Way Forward

Posted by September 3rd, 2015

Mayo small I always ensure I take a step back from my business in the summer.  Here’s a picture from the beautiful west coast of   Ireland last week.

Do you manage to find time to step back? This time is crucial as it allows me to really assess what’s working for me, frustrating me…..and super importantly what I want to achieve going forward.

During this step back I bumped into a couple of people who were feeling REALLY burnt out from their businesses, not enjoying them and resenting what they have created.

That is not a place I want you or I to be in. I really believe that you achieve more, and earn more, doing things from a place of enjoyment and fulfillment rather than stress and strain.

So what are the results of my summer reflections? Here are a few of my decisions:

  • Do less of the things I don’t enjoy by either doing them differently, stop doing them altogether or outsourcing them.
  • Have a phase of consolidation rather than looking at new avenues or big leaps, concentrate on streamlining and getting things right in my core areas.
  • Concentrate on attracting only the clients who I super enjoy working with and make my work a pleasure.

So having had my reflection time I’m excited to be going into my planning and doing time!

What about you?

  • Where are you on the energised to burnt out spectrum?
  • Do you build in enough reflection time for your business?
  • If not, start right now – what are your immediate reflections on your business?
  • What will help you enjoy it more?
  • What will help you make it more successful?
  • What do you need to do to ensure you don’t get burnt out?
  • ….and lastly, when can you build in some proper reflection time (the sooner the better!)?

Are You Charging What You’re Worth?

Posted by May 28th, 2015

I was speaking to someone this week about their business, he is at his wit’s end and wants to throw the towel in. He is exhausted, feeling burnt out and whilst he is hugely appreciated by his clients, and has work coming to his door, he is not making enough money to keep his head above water. Sound familiar?

There are a number of different ways you can look at solving this problem….without of course throwing the towel in.

9 Nifty Strategies 3D CoverOne of the first steps is ensuring you’re charging what you’re worth.

As a coach, consultant or small business owner, it can be very hard to charge higher prices. You feel you need to be able to transparently justify your cost, or that your hourly rate is going to look too high. Maybe you’re in the habit of pitching in a last minute discount hoping it will guarantee you a yes.

Do you want more income? To feel comfortable with charging more ?

……not in a daylight robbery, pull the wool over someone’s eyes kind of a way, but in a way that you feel reflects what you’re worth and the value you deliver?

If so, I’ve put together an e-book to help you think about your pricing and it’s got detail on 9 Nifty Strategies to help you Charge What You’re Worth.

Click here to download it – and you can immediately put some of these strategies into action immediately. Enjoy!

Those feelings of real success and those wonderful champagne moments will only be realised when you are charging what you’re worth.

Do You Want a Film Crew in Your House?

Posted by December 18th, 2014

Digital cinema cameraAngelina Jolie eat your heart out, Hollywood is going to be calling me soon.

The film industry in N.Ireland is on a roll. We have Game of Thrones being filmed here and The Fall, to mention but two.

The next thing is Frankenstein, and so I found myself showing a location scout the darkest and dingiest parts (there are quite a few) of my old family home. It’s a lovely Georgian house with a sweeping avenue and beautiful gate lodges, but like many old houses, it’s far more Country House Rescue than Downton Abbey.

My brother who now owns it, is looking for ways for it to pay for its upkeep…..cue the film location scout.  It’s dingy bits for Franenstien, but it would also do well for Jane Austen.

I then had a Nothing to Lose Moment. I asked the scout if he wanted to see my house. 300 yards further up the avenue, brand new, spacious and modern. Missing the period features (or worries about leaking roofs), it’s our dream house and if it could help pay a bit for itself I wouldn’t complain.

He looked hesitant. I told him about the tree lined lane, excellent for a stage coach to thunder up, and that seemed  to swing it.

He liked it! He said he had house envy. That they’re is a demand for the right modern houses to film in.

My brother says he will be furious if my house gets booked before his! We’re both sitting by the phone……I’ll keep you posted.

What Nothing to Lose Moment could you have? Who do you need to approach and what do you need to ask?

WHEN are you going to do it? Often we put it off until the time is right, the website updated etc.

So answer these now:

  • What Nothing to Lose Moments have you been putting off?
  • What new Nothing to Lose Moments could you put into action?
  • Get 2015 off to a cracking start with these, when will you do them? No procrastination, if not before Christmas, diary and make sure they happen in January, Go For It! You have nothing to lose!

Strength to Build Success

Posted by November 14th, 2014

bigstock-Key-to-success-24060560I’ve just started working with a client whose sales have been dwindling.  They are feeling unmotivated and frustrated, and there is an air of panic in the air.  However, they are also really putting their thinking cap on. They are considering lots of new markets and new product ideas.


If you find yourself doing this, stop immediately!  Have a look around and assess where you are.

I find that both entrepreneurs and executives can start looking into new and different areas when they feel things are not going as well as they would like with their business or career.

Often, the answer is not about looking at new areas, but closer to home.

Often, they have lost their focus and sight of their key strengths.

Whenever possible, you need to look at new ideas, markets and products from a position of strength, not of desperation. You need to look not outwards, but inwards.

  1. Find the Time to Stop!  We lose focus and perspective as we rush through our busy professional and personal lives.  Finding time to regularly stop and assess where you are is crucial. Even for just 5 minutes; it could make a big difference.
  2. Know What You Stand For. Ensure you are clear on your business or personal brand and its core elements.  What your key values and passions are, what business you are really in, and what value you deliver to people.
  3. Know What You are Good At….really, really good at. Make sure you are still doing this – have you drifted away from it? If so, how can you get back to it? How can you do more of the things you enjoy doing?
  4. Make a Plan….with a timeline, to bring yourself (and your team) back to key strengths, values and passions. Plan how you can communicate these strengths to your customers and colleagues.
  5. Make Another Plan to take yourself forward; once you and / or your business are centred and strong, you can start to make plans to build more success in new and different areas.