Inevitable Success – the reason I coach.

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“What is success?” the man leading the seminar asked brightly, wanting some audience participation. I put up my hand, and along with several other participants, gave my answer. “The inevitable result of being human.”  I knew it wouldn’t be regarded as a normal answer, but I want success now, a lot  –  and I want to use today’s successes as a springboard to more rewarding ones – and not just my own successes. My definition guarantees me success every day, and makes me aware of how natural success is for us all.

Success is inevitable.

You cannot help but achieve your deepest goals. Without knowing it, you succeed. Look close enough and you’ll find you’re a success.  Every day. Pretty much all the time!  

Here are some of my successes (though not in chronological order!)  Waking up.  Talking to my family. Cuddling my children and grandchildren. Breathing. Doing my emails. Writing this blog. Cooking breakfast. Laughing at a TV programme. Doing some reading. Having a bath. Walking. In fact I’ve succeeded so many times today it is so normal to succeed that I’m completely unaware of how much of a success I am.

However, your deepest goals may not be so obvious. You might be missing them. Even embarrassed by them.

Less obvious success…

Here are some successes that people have that they may not want to own up to:  

  • Backing off. Being successful at making sure they don’t need courage.
  • Avoiding potential pain by staying within safe, risk-free limits.
  • Never experiencing rejection (by not putting themselves in a relationship where that could happen, or by making sure they themselves do the rejecting first.) 
  • Staying an emotional child. (There are plenty of people out there looking to mother the emotionally needy.)

Perhaps you’ve successfully taken whatever decisions you need to make absolutely sure you never stand out in the crowd. Solution: keep your head down and your mouth shut.

It is easy to make sure you never fail an exam. Simply never take one. Success!  

You need never fear mockery.  Never ever come up with anything original.

You need never fear being made redundant or getting the sack. Simple: resign at the earliest opportunity, or don’t take the job in the first place! 

But of course, such dubious success is linked to other dubious successes – successfully avoiding responsibility for your life and future for example.  And that means other people will begin to take over what you could contribute, and you will become poorer, more isolated, more vulnerable and more depleted. Some successes can produce unwelcome results.

What do you WANT to want?

Time to dig deeper. (As you know, I don’t do shallow.)  

Do you REALLY want what you’re getting out of life at the moment? What do you WANT to want? What WELCOME outcomes?

What are you prepared to go for, to sacrifice for (everything in life has a price), in order to get an outcome you’ll be PROUD OF?  

What is the next step for you?

From the day I stepped out from behind my mummy’s skirts to do something on my own, fear and courage have fought for supremacy. As I stepped out, eventually courage won.

My job is to make sure all these years later that courage continues to win, not just for me, but for you too.  

YOU are the reason I choose to coach.    Here are some others. 

 

 

 

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Posted in Personal development, Uncategorized

STOP.

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Just south of Nordcap – and of course everything in Europe is south of Nordcap – is this little, well-worn picnic bench.  No one in sight.  It was waiting for me beside a cool clean pool half way up a mountain. So I stopped and made its acquaintance.

Breakfast.  A camp-style ‘bath’ (we’ll leave it there!). A read. Sitting quietly in the arctic sun. Solitude. Aloneness.

Later in the day, I stopped again, beside a little beach.  For the rest of the afternoon.

Today the ferry was full, and it returns in four hours time. So I’ve stopped again, the camper – and my heart – still. Stoptime.

What ‘stoptime’ do you have?

Are you comfortable alone with your thoughts, at ease with quiet meditation?  For me it is a touch of heaven, a ‘place’ of acute joy, a source of spiritual replenishment and relief.

Many years ago I dedicated myself to serving God, and have continued to do that down the decades, not least as I coach people here in Powerchange, but without stop-time my life quickly runs dry and my reservoirs empty.  I find myself offering the world (and of course my clients) something from the bottom of the barrel instead of fresh from an overflow.  No one wants a tired stale coach thanks.

Me First!

‘Me First’ isn’t necessarily a selfish attitude.  It can be a very important one.  As you become more aware of the lives you influence you will soon discover that your own integrity has a powerful affect on others.

STOP.

Maybe today this is a call to your heart too. Stop. You’ll find a way. Don’t expect others to understand because they probably won’t, but the quality of what you have to offer them will significantly increase.  A hand-to-mouth, on-the-hoof quick sandwich isn’t anything like as satisfying for them or you as a carefully prepared, marinated, carefully considered, slow-cooked, fine-dining meal.

And that takes time.  Time learning from the ‘chef’ – whoever that might be for you. (Choose your teachers wisely! Jesus Christ features for me.)  Time experimenting. Time tasting your own recipes to see if they satisfy you. If they do, then offer them to those who you suspect might enjoy them too.

That’s what I’m doing right now.  Will you stop for a while please?  For everyone’s sake.

Glad I did?  Well, let me know what happens when you do.

 

 

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I’m in northern Norway. Help me!

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I’ve a message I want you to help me get out there.  It’s really important, and you can use your connections to ‘make it happen’.  Will you do that for me?  Thank you.  Here it is:

People are afraid.  We can change that!

The job of a leader, so a friend told me years ago, is to provide vision and encourage the people.  In these up and down times, such leaders are few and far between it seems.  From some significant distance, 4,000km from the world of Brexit in northern Norway, I’ve been intrigued to read the messages coming from the media to my iPhone.  They are so horrible to read! Terror, disappointment, regret, fear, anger, rage, exploitation, back-stabbing, recrimination – even apocalyptic declarations about WWIII and the world economies collapsing.   There are people who make a lot of money out of this stuff, it seems.  So where are our leaders?  You can be one – join the team.

Make-it-happen leaders!

No not the doom-laden soothsayers of Westminster or Brussels, or the gleeful media correspondents, maxing out the dollars on people’s fears,  but the LEADERS! The inspiring, real, courageous, faith-filled and enthusiastic pioneers of the future?  Where are the men and women who look at the future and inspire HOPE, COURAGE, PASSION, EXCITEMENT, JOY, SELF-DETERMINATION, and FREEDOM?

The future isn’t some fatalistic end result. It doesn’t even exist right now.  The future is available to us as a clean piece of paper, for us to write on.  US.  Some are scribbling all over it.

You and I each have a choice.  Our lives are not dictated to by an unknown pension fund manager, or some remote political entity.  We each have a choice.  In fact, every day we have thousands of choices, and most of those choices will be subtly influenced by how we have lived our lives up to now, what we have chosen to accept, what we have chosen to listen to and read.  Personally, I read books about courage, risk-taking, stepping into the unknown, and I have lived my life choosing to adventure.  (Even the word ‘adventure’ excites me!) My current read is “The Girl in the Picture” about the Vietnamese girl burned by napalm. You may know it. She rejected fear and shifted to a much better way to think about her life.

Kim Phuk has dedicated her life to making the future better for others.

This 12 year old Kim Phuk, now in her 50s, has positively dedicated her life to bringing hope to the world.

OK, here’s the challenge.

There are people watching you, listening to your words, looking at your face as you say them. Yes, you, YOU are – maybe quite unintentionally – a leader. How are you responding to the world around you right now?  What leadership characteristics have you grown over the years?  Your words change the world.  Your facial expression influences others more than you know. What is in your HEART?  Faith?  Courage?  HOPE?

Those who know me will know that I’m quite libertarian in my response to the world.  I like less laws, not more, greater individual freedom, not more and bigger prisons. I want children educated so that they are inspired to start their own businesses, maximise their creativity to produce goods and services that people are attracted to and want to buy, to develop their interpersonal relationships so that they enjoy one another, be self supporting, and can sell effectively.  (When did you ever hear of sales skills being taught in school?  All of us ‘sell’ something or other.  Selling is an essential life-skill, let’s just be honest about that!)

I want young people educated in the ways of valuing others and taught risk-assessment – not to STOP them taking risks but to teach them HOW to actively take risks and manage and overcome the risk.  I want young people taught, actually taught, to be entrepreneurial.  I want them to learn that failing is merely success being born, to be flexible and adjust.  To keep decision-making about their life and future as close to themselves as possible.  Those who do live happier lives.

Guts

The tough part about my job as a personal development coach is not to get people out of slavery, but to get slavery out of the people. Out of their heads, yes.  Out of their hearts, yes. But even deeper down – out of their GUTS.

Enjoy the freedom you have, dear reader.

Every moment of it.  But don’t leave it there.  Spread the message.  See and take opportunities. Be a GREAT leader to the people who are watching and listening to you.  Use what is available to you.  If you are on Facebook, or have a Twitter account, USE IT to influence people for good, not just tell them about the latest shallow chatter.  This is not a call to ARMS but a call to JOY, to HOPE, and to FAITH FILLED LIVING.

Hit the ‘share’ button and change the world.  You have received a calling to be a GREAT leader – make your message one of courage and hope.

Just think, amidst the put-downs, ridicule and rejection you’ll receive (everything has a price!) much joy HOW MUCH JOY you’ll receive!

Thanks for helping.  Share away!

Andrew

 

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I’ve been speaking to Germans

On the 1st July I took the first available ferry to Europe at 2.00am.  That evening I was in Koldenkirchen on the far side of Hamburg having a hamburger – well it was actually something else I couldn’t pronounce – at a small-town wine festival, and as I don’t speak German and was the only Englishman for miles I could sit alone or chat to people.  I decided on the latter, and inevitably Brexit came up.

I was so touched by the genuine conversations I had.

The world is full of lovely people. These talked about how important the UK has been in balancing the overwhelming power of Germany.  They were quick to say how determined they are to keep the UK as ‘friends’, and a group of young people (ie, under 30) said they were shocked that only 30% of young people in the UK voted in the referendum.  Needless to say, they were disappointed that we had made an ‘out’ decision as a nation.

One, a newspaper photographer, voiced how he had spent a year in London and loved the free, globally multicultural atmosphere, commenting that he knew of no city in Germany that was like that. “Paris, maybe?” he said.

Another talked of the need for the EU to change, to be more flexible, though neither of us had the faith to believe that would happen. Another comment was that they were not surprised, as we had never given the Project our all, and were geographically an island off the coast. “You are a smaller island now.”  We’ll need to wait and see about that, to see what ‘size’ island we intend to be and what we can and will achieve.

From my little bit of subjective research then, the voice of the German ‘proletariat’, the working people, is of sadness, of being left. All said how this was about governments, and not about the everyday relationships we have as people together, and how important it is that we continue to grow those relationships. Me too – and I’m keen to be an ambassador for ‘communities loving communities’, without all the political machinations getting in the way.

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I’ve got five more European countries to visit on this trip in the next two or three weeks as I head first to the Swedish Arctic Circle then into Estonia, etc. (The plan is to circumnavigate the Baltic Sea including the Gulf of Bothnia, though I’m missing out Russia) I’ll not ask everyone I meet about Britain and the EU, but if the subject comes up, maybe I’ll let you know.  Right now I’m in a beautiful Spanish restaurant in Frederikshavn on the north east of Denmark – deserted on Saturday afternoons – ready for a crossing to Gothenburg at 3.00am, just finishing the first Fischsuppe (guess) of many on this adventure.

(Want an adventure and think it’s out of reach?  http://powerchange.com/adventure/)

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Courage Always Triumphs.

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David Cameron reads the Gospel at the Queen’s 90th Birthday Thanksgiving Service.

So here we are in a post-referendum world. Of the 7000 million people on the planet, just a comparative handful of ‘little people’ on a little island off the coast of Europe have spoken with their hearts, and made a difference. Little people, each with just one vote. It’s called democracy.  Their courage changed the course of history. Things will never be the same again.

Courage always triumphs.

People who choose a life filled with courage will always win in the end. Over these last weeks, onslaught after onslaught of terrifying predictions were thrown at these courageous ones, and they STILL voted “No” to fear. The direst consequences, financial ruin, the inability to feed your kids, poverty in old age, the elites of pretty much anywhere did their very best to intimidate, rubbish, persuade and bully, but in those few quiet safe and sacred moments in the sanctity of a polling booth in our little Sussex village I ticked the Leave box, joined my heart with the risk-takers, and voted for a better – and quite possibly a more prosperous world.

Of course, we’ll never know what might have been, because no one can predict the future. Every decision you and I make is irreversible, so alternatives at that time and place no longer exist. There is only one life, and we are all living it.

Big Mistake. Huge.
Julia Roberts' famous Big Mistake Moment in the classic film "Pretty Woman"

Julia Roberts’ famous Big Mistake Moment in the classic film “Pretty Woman”

Just two weeks before the Brexit vote David Cameron publicly read these words of Jesus to a fearful world. “If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after.”  He listened to another David, David Attenborough, read the words of poet Minnie Louise Haskins reminding him that going out into the darkness with his hand in God’s hand is “better than a light and safer than a known way.” In the vote of his and our lifetime, he chose away from a life of faith to lead us with a message of fear.  As Julia Roberts famously said in Pretty Woman when she had been treated as ‘trash off the street’ by an elite clothing store, “Big mistake. Huge.”

It cost David Cameron his career, and us a very good Prime Minister.  Let’s not make the same mistake ourselves.

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

Minnie Louise Haskins

 

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Posted in In the News, Personal development, Poetry, Uncategorized

Another reason for voting Leave: Big isn’t Better.

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In today’s world it is not size but flexibility that matters.

Big does not equal better. The greatest success stories in the animal kingdom are not huge elephants and rhinos, but ants. Billions and billions of them, in multiple self-sustaining colonies, underground, chattering away, getting on with the work of looking after each other and forming what is now believed to be a global network.

Today’s most successful wars are not won with nuclear bombs.  They are won with IEDs, Kalashnikovs, an empowering vision, and inspiring words. Small things. Lots and lots of them.

Big things are vulnerable and are easily crippled. “A bee can bite the bottom of the Pope in Rome” (Les Miserables”).  An easy target. Billions of small things are difficult to get rid of, as anyone who has had an infection knows only too well.

So how does this reflect on the Brexit campaign? 

The EU is focused on more and more centralisation and regulation, with fewer and fewer people making the crucial decisions. Common this, and common that. Fewer decision-makers mean slower decisions – and less time to make them so the quality becomes compromised. In today’s world that is bad news. The problem is not size in itself.  It is speed. Big things take a long time to get going, buy-in from all the parties takes close to eternity, and once they are on the move they are very difficult to stop – or even redirect.  And almost impossible to reverse.  Eventually they stop.  (See image above.)

In this world of exploding chaos and complexity, where centralised decision-making cripples progress, the world’s key decision-makers are those at the edge, ‘little people’ facing the immediate local situation who can switch twice in a day, adjusting to what they find.  And the best leaders are those who understand that principle, training those people, educating them, inspiring them … and then giving leadership-power away to them, empowering them to decide ‘there and then’ at the point of need, equipped with the knowledge they need. It is immediate connectivity and flexibility that are key in this context. The delivery driver on his mobile phone in his little white van phoning the customer, the school teacher in the classroom dealing immediately with the behaviour of a student, the bobby on the beat sorting an argument, the child deciding on what to have for breakfast.

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Think ant not articulated truck. When faced with a challenge, ants get into a little community group and sort out the problem, attacking, defending, and even dying when necessary. (They are typically called ‘worker’ ants.  I like that!) When the problem is solved, they go back to their work until needed again.  They will go to incredible lengths to support each other, sacrifice, and work.  The one in this pic is carrying a seed many times its weight and size.

And it all happens in seconds and minutes, not months and years. Quick, efficient, local decision-making by those affected by the decision sorting the problem out together. Collaboratively.  Without a formal structure.

So the predictions for the EU are speculated upon for the next 15 years. “It will be like this in 2030.”  One thing is sure.  Every prediction will be wrong, whoever makes it. Remember 15 years ago? It was the everyday people, filled with vision and purpose, who decided that for them there was no box to think out of. Like the bumble bee that is technically unable to fly because of it’s weight and wing area, they just get on and do it.

When I see the EU voting for the development of smaller government, disbanding important parts of itself (especially those that currently meddle uninvited in the detail of human community), distributing decision-making power to the edge, promoting freedom, encouraging diversity and speed by building connectivity (roads, airports, internet access), maybe it will get my vote.

I’m not holding my breath.  Today it seems to me to be more of a big overloaded truck stuck in a narrow lane, shouting at us about how we cannot do without it because it’s going places, yet blocking the way for the farmer, mother and deliveryman queued up behind, trying to get on with real life.

Meanwhile the flexible little ants quietly march past, over, under and round it, vote it off the job and get on with the work of living.

Those who want the EU are welcome to it. I’m voting ‘ant’.

 

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I’m voting LEAVE. Here’s my reason in ONE WORD.

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The upcoming referendum on the EU is, I believe, the single most important political decision any of us is likely to make in our lifetime. I’m voting ‘Leave’. Here’s my reasoning in ONE word. Accountability.

Accountability keeps us behaving responsibly.

As individuals we are responsible for how we treat each other, responsible for our possessions, and responsible for what we do with what we have. We are responsible for what we ask of others, how our decisions affect them and how we adjust to the effect we have on other’s lives – our response-ABILITY. Responsibility and accountability are linked. We are responsible FOR things and people, and accountable TO those people, obliged to maintain a free flow of transparent communication so that we prove ourselves worthy of trust.

In Britain we have decided that those who are responsible for the direction and management of our country are ultimately accountable to us, the people they lead, whose lives their decisions affect.  Responsible for. Accountable to.

The reason I’m voting Leave is because such accountability is missing in the EU. We have no idea who makes the decisions that affect us. We do not know the person responsible for each of the myriad of choices imposed on the millions of people who must do as they are told. There is no cabinet minister’s name attached to an ‘EU Directive’. Parliament cannot overthrow it. As a result of that ongoing and unstoppable anonymity, power becomes absolute and absolute power corrupts absolutely, regardless of the intentions of those who wield it.

The counterbalance to the abuse of power is democracy, described by Churchill as “the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried from time to time.” Or as it has been succinctly put, ‘the least worst form of government.’

Every few years in Britain the people have an opportunity to kick out those in power if they don’t lead well, or spend our taxes carelessly, and this makes they much more attentive to the people they, at least in theory, are committed to serve. We wisely wield that power every five years in Britain – about the right time-frame in my view.  But no one can kick out those who wield the power in the EU, so its bureaucrats can – and do – decide as they like.

Worse than that in some ways is that the inertia of this unwieldy autocracy is so great that the EU has proven to be UNABLE to reverse, even though catastrophe lies in such a path. It has become unABLE to respond. It has lost response-ABILITY.

We paid a high price for democracy – many many lives. Let’s not give it away in a single day of apathy.

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This issue of power is way more important than any financial implication (or even issues like immigration). Prosperity comes and goes and we’ll love to exercise our creative skills in developing our markets with the rest of the world.  We are certainly mature enough, creative enough and courageous enough as a nation and economy to do so. But democracy, once it has been surrendered, cries out for blood in order to be restored. Germany, Spain, Italy, and indeed ourselves, could well do with remembering the lessons of history.  So let’s not, due to negligence, weakness or ignorance, drift into blind obedience to the relentless autocracy the EU has determined to exercise since its inception.

By the way, I love being with people from other nations. I’ve visited every country in Western Europe (except Iceland and Macedonia).  And I’ve visited many other countries too – from China to Canada. Human beings are amazing.  I’m always impressed. But I’ve also noticed that where accountability and transparency flourish, corruption is minimal. Where it is diminished, abuse of the people, people like you and me, sooner or later becomes normal. Dark deeds are done in secret.

One final thought.
Reformation. Membership of a ‘reformed’ Europe (whatever that might mean) is an option, but to be committed to a vague undefined so-called reformation without knowing what it will be, and knowing that the very people choosing the reforms are the same autocrats committed to the original governmental system – well, that would be foolishness indeed, wouldn’t it?

I personally think that the removal of the U.K. from the EU could be a catalyst for reform. Brexit will be a major upheaval for Europe, perhaps even big enough to force such reformation, so us voting ‘leave’ will serve the EU well, as a child running away from home usually causes the child’s family to ask deep searching essential questions of themselves, their relationships and parenting. What freedom is that person seeking that they could not get here? “How is it that such freedom is SO important that they have left the apparent security of this ‘home’ to seek it?”  Although of course Britain isn’t a child. It is a mature thoughtful adult choosing to leave a business club that is no longer serving its members well.

The British people have given Europe’s leaders a chance to change. They haven’t. They don’t care about the members’ concerns, the sincere concerns of those they rule. Instead some have even threatened us with retaliation and financial ‘punishment’ for making a free legal choice. Some friends!  Do we want to be forced to live the rest of our lives with them, ‘return’ to their walled fold? Not exactly enticing, is it. Bullying tactics are in the DNA of the over-powerful. Do I want to continue living within the doors of such a ‘home’? Certainly not. A bully living next door is one thing. Living with them is something else – as millions of people know only too well.

Time for Britain to grow up, believe in itself again, move out, seek our fortune in a less confining environment and move on. These EU walls that are hailed as protecting us have become our prison. We don’t need them thanks. This is our chance to walk out from that prison. Our world is a big place to explore, to play and work in. I believe we are courageous enough to say goodbye to our fears, stand up tall as a nation again, trade with confidence … and show the world how good it is to live with an accountable government and a free press in a democratic society.

That’s the reason I’ll be voting ‘Leave’.

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