If you are in a leadership position, something that you may not have considered before is just how important it is to be a good follower.
Let’s explore what it means to be a follower, how you can do it well and how it can benefit your business, your life and those that you care most about.

How being a leader and a follower are linked 

Sometimes you will be the one leading- in your role at work, at home, in certain situations like a sports event, a social outing, or an emergency situation. In these situations we are called upon to be calm, compassionate, reliable, inspiring and empathetic. 

It is a great privilege, as by leading we can bring out the best in others, and it is also, paradoxically, a huge challenge which can be a heavy burden at times.

So have you ever stopped to think that for most of the time in your life, you are actually being a follower? 

Let’s look at what that actually means, and give you some ways to enjoy this aspect of your life as much as possible. 

We are doing it wrong- let’s not tear each other down 

• Politicians.
• Religious leaders.
• Company managers.
• Bankers.
• Family members.
• Strangers online. 

We can see so many examples of seemingly poor leaders, looking online, without even leaving the house. They lie, cheat, hurt others and we vicariously can often pass judgement on them, imagining that we would surely do a better job. And perhaps that is the case, or perhaps not. 

What I think is a better use of our mental energy and focus is to see how we can support and help these leaders, to help their causes and to bring about the positive changes and impacts in the world which we all want.

So let’s remember this:

Leadership can be lonely and very difficult

So let’s be the ones who support, who encourage our leaders, who by being active and positive followers, can always find a way forwards, as they say in spanish, ¡juntos!

7 ways that you can be a great follower 

1 Recognise when it’s not your time to lead

I remember the first time I made a big mistake with this. 

It was my first year in teaching, and I had developed that teaching voice (I’m sure you know the one). It’s a tone of voice that can be excellent for establishing a calm authority in a room full of children, not so much with fellow adults…

“Don’t you use your teaching voice ON ME!” My brother, a fellow teacher, exclaimed at me. 

I had fallen into the common trap of thinking I could just carry on being a teacher outside of the school, talking to fellow adults like children, and expecting them to listen and respond to me. I hadn’t even noticed that I was doing it. 

So take a minute to think about where and when you are in a leadership position- the physical/online places, times, and with which people. Chances are, that a lot of the time you actually won’t be:

• On webinars
• Out shopping
• With your family and friends

I find there is a great power in this anonymity. 

No one is looking to you for answers or help, you can just enjoy being part of the crowd.

1. Family time – 44%
2. A happy home  – 43%
3. Your physical health – 41%
4. Your mental health – 38%
5. Faithfulness in your relationship – 35%

I have found this belief to also be shared by other countries around the world too.

2 Commit to learning from others

There are over 7 billion people in the world as well as you.

That is wonderful, as that means you have over 7 billion people that you can potentially learn from! 

Now, not all of those people may be able to help you, or bring you to a better place. But a huge amount of them will. Try seeing and wearing your learning lightly, like a t shirt. You can take it off and learn something new. And by being open and willing to learn from others, you can empower them towards both being able to help you, and wanting to do so. Your peers, your family, your friends, people online, your clients: there are so many teachers that will appear in front of you, when you are open and willing to learn from them. 

3 Enjoy the freedom of being a follower

There’s no need to consistently put pressure on yourself to do everything alone, allow others to help you! 

When you are a follower, you can spend time listening, watching, observing, asking questions, seeing what things are like from the other end of the fence. As someone who does a lot of teaching and leading, I love to be in the role of the learner and the follower. If I attend online training, I love to take notes and ask questions and trust in the knowledge of the person leading the session. 

Try this out. Write down some topics that hugely interest you, either professionals or personally. And google search free online training webinars for these topics. And just attend one. Then whilst there, fully give yourself over to being a learner, a participant in the session. You may well find it liberating and inspiring! I often do so and it always gives me ideas to take back into my life. Give it a try.

4 Be active and supportive in your following

Stay interested, keep building relationships, keep learning, commit to improving both as a follower and in what you are following. 

It is so important that we keep encouraging fellow leaders, creators and those putting themselves out there to help others. So here’ are some very practical ways that you can do this as a follower, both online and in person.

• Get into the habit of leaving supportive comments on your network’s online platforms, every day. You could leave 5-10 comments in only 5 minutes. It doesn’t take long at all, and those people will really appreciate it.
• Send “how are you?” texts to your close people every week.
• At meetings, in the office or at networking events, ask people what they are currently working on that is exciting for them-then be patient, quiet and allow them to talk.
• Write a list of 3 causes that are very important to you, and commit to researching the latest news and developments about them for 20 minutes a week, and an hour every quarter.

5 Become other orientated 

I would highly recommend that you read or listen to The trust based selling ‘fieldbook’ by Charles H Green and Angela P Howe.

I have learned so much from it, and it reinforced for me, something that I feel to be so important. This is that the best thing you can do to help you to lead better and succeed in business, is to become more and more focused and orientated towards other people: their successes, their dreams, their problems, their interests.

This can actually be more challenging than it sounds, and hopefully, the suggested book can give you some in depth help with how to do this.

Here are some extra suggestions to help you to become more other orientated:

• Find out 3 facts about your closest people at work and in life and commit them to memory.
Find a charity or cause to support with your time, money or energy.
• Consider what resources or assets you currently have which could be shared and/or enjoyed by others.
• Try following a new sport or team and learning about its rules and the players

6 Separate the person from the cause  

When you see examples of bad leadership, make a conscious effort to separate the person demonstrating the behaviour from the cause that they are representing. This can save you from potentially losing massive value in your life by not engaging in worthwhile causes, because of the failings of a small number of people.

Here are some suggested ways that you could approach this. 

An example from democracy

The party leader may not be your favourite person, but you still believe in democracy and in the party you represent. Or if you even do not believe in the party anymore, you still follow and believe in democracy. 

 An example from business

Your chair of the board or CEO makes a decision that you highly disagree with. You choose to talk to her and find out their reasons. You still don’t agree with it, but agree to support them and role it out in the best way possible, for the good of your business.

An example from music

You love a band’s music, but then find out something negative about the members, or they do something you don’t agree with. You separate them as human beings from the music they make and continue to enjoy their music; whilst allowing yourself to not have to agree with either their opinions or actions. 

An example from relationships

A family member, who is a parent, is very tired and not acting like themselves. You offer to help them out with their children, they say no thank you. They continue to be snappy and aggressive, so you make an effort to be understanding and calm towards them and the situation, telling them you are there for them, if they need anything. 

7 Unfollow and let go of those that you want to 

You only have so much energy and focus that you can give in any one day. Make an effort to unfollow, unfriend and unsubscribe from all the people and company’s which bring you down and do not add value to your life. 

We can often engage with so many people and situations, just out of habit, or simply because we have done so for many years. You do not have to do this. Lovingly let go of those who you know will not lead you into a better place. You can always re-engage in the future, if you choose to. But for now, try focusing on actively supporting, following and learning from those who have you best interests at heart. 

3 ways to put being a great follower into practice

Write a list of who you follow and what you currently follow. 

For example 

I follow my line manager
I follow my older sisters and my boyfriend in some ways
I follow my women’s football team
I follow several bands
I follow 3 CPD organisations
I subscribe to 10 email subscriptions
I follow no religion
I follow my interests in mountain biking, speaking Italian and gardening
I follow a certain politically party 

Create and answer self reflection questions in relation to the 7 points  

Which of these are good or bad for me?
Could I let go of some of these our update and change some?
What am I learning currently in my fellowship?
How can I be a better follower in these areas? 

Pick one point of the 7 and take action with it this week, this month, this quarter and this year.

This week I will attend an online webinar to learn about a new topic from my important list
This month I will ask myself my self reflection questions and write down the answers to improve my month for next month
At the end of this quarter I will review 3 months of my self reflection questions and actions taken
Once a year I will sit down with a piece of paper and go through the 7 following areas and plan out some improvements that  I can make to improve my life

Final thoughts 

The number one reason why many businesses are failing at the moment is because they cannot adapt and be agile in our current rapidly changing business world.

In order to be adaptive and agile, we need to be active, intelligent followers of excellent material, from excellent sources and excellent people.

Leveraging the experience and knowledge of others, as well as supporting them to be even better will create an interdependent dynamic that will enrich us as followers, leaders and most importantly, as human beings. 

Love and best wishes to you on your journey.


How to keep in touch with Kataholos:

In this blog I would like to do 3 things to help you:

Part 1 Explore what patience is and how it can help you in our current Covid culture and beyond

Part 2 Look at the benefits of patience for your business and your life

Part 3 Give you 5 activities that you can do to cultivate patience for yourself and your business

Part 1- Patience and our Covid culture

Do you love spending time with your family?

A recent study I found at hrnews.co.uk taught me that 44% of people interviewed in the UK, cherished family time the most, out of everything in their life.

Here are the top 5 from the study

50 THINGS BRITISH CITIZENS VALUE MOST IN LIFE

1. Family time – 44%
2. A happy home  – 43%
3. Your physical health – 41%
4. Your mental health – 38%
5. Faithfulness in your relationship – 35%

I have found this belief to also be shared by other countries around the world too.

Whenever I ask attendees on my 5 types of motivation session what is most important to them, every time family comes up in people’s top 3 things. Isn’t that lovely? And I think it’s something that we should always keep in mind for our business – family – it is everything to so many of us.

And so a good question to ask is, how can we have wonderful relationships with our people – whether they are family, friends, clients, or customers? Despite our current world conditions?

There are, of course, many good things that we can do. And in this blog, I would like to suggest that it is the virtue of patience which can add so much, often misunderstood, value into our relationships and our lives.

Our hurry up and wait Covid culture

We are living in very interesting times at the moment across the world, with what I have started calling, our hurry up and wait Covid culture. On the one hand we have access to so many things instantaneously, which we do not have to wait for:

• Contactless card payments
• Amazon next day or same day deliveries
• Just eat home food deliveries
• Free apps and music
• Streaming movies and content
• Use of AI
• The internet!

However, we are also being asked in both business and life to put up with major and often unexpected disruptions and cancellations, due to Covid and its knock on affect on our interdependent economies around the world

• Cancelled holidays, flights, trains and transport
Logistical interruptions
• Supply chain disruptions
• Food shortages
• Short and long term sickness due to Covid
• Cancelled events – often last minute
• Cancelled hospital and medical appointments
• Missed birthdays and family life events
• Uncertainty towards the future

This is quite a challenging mix for us to handle, as in some ways, we are spoiled for choice by the almost instantaneous nature of some of the things we have access to with the swipe of a finger, or click of a button. But, we are also being asked to deal with incredible
long term strain, frustration and existential pain in almost all areas of our lives, at some point, due to Covid.

I would like to try and help you with this.

What is patience?

A fairly standard definition of patience seems to be a capacity to tolerate delays or problems without being annoyed or anxious. That sounds like quite a useful ability to craft doesn’t it?

I’d say, especially for business at the moment it also involves an ability to:

• Be ok with things not being exactly how we want them at the moment
 capacity to have the vision to see beyond the present moment
• An understanding that certain things take time
• An understanding of the value that the best things – such as financial security, relationships and a great reputation, require patience.

So, what does patience mean to you?
Is it something that you find difficult or easy?

I think that no matter who we are in the world in our business, we have all been disrupted and challenged to be patient at some point over the past 2 years, whether that be through national lockdowns, delayed payments, health issues or workplace disruptions.

And let’s be honest, a lot of this, although containing seeds within of promise and growth, has been incredibly difficult. You may have even experienced what health professionals call large T or small t trauma, depending on how difficult your circumstances have been.

For me, I found the first 12 week UK lockdown very challenging. I live on my own, and before the English government created bubbles – so we could mix with others – I had to spend 12 weeks in my house on my own. Previous to this, all my work had been with clients face to face, and I had seen my family every week, without fail.

It was the longest I had ever had to go without seeing a loved one, or even having a hug. It taught me a lot about patience, and as the world continues to deal with the challenges and frustrations that Covid is bringing, an ability to be patience and think long term, is becoming not just a commendable virtue, but an essential trait for us to pace both our business aspirations; and how we plan out our lifestyles and daily routines.

So, let’s wave a hypothetical magic wand for a minute, and give you a feel for how good life can be, when you are able to be patient in how you see interpret and live your daily life.

Part 2 – The value of patience and what it can give to you

Patience can show you that it is indeed possible to be what you want, and achieve what you want to be and do; if you can appreciate that it must be done through a long period of time.

Patience can help you to manage your expectations and be ok with what is not possible in the present moment.

Patience can bring you an appreciation of the past, the present and the future, and how they are all connected. For example, your every present moment was once in your future, and will soon be in your past. Patience helps you to appreciate this chronological interconnectedness.

Patience can truly change your appreciation of things over time, if you keep something in your life. Here’s a personal example. Growing up, I was (and still am) a fan of heavy music. However, when I was a teenager, I did not like the music of America nu metal band Linkin Park. There was no particular reason, I just didn’t like it. However, over a period of years, actually 20 years now, I began to like the music more and more. And now I love their first album particularly. I can now see that the music was always good, I was just not ready to see that when I was younger. Seen through a patient lens, over a period of years, I can now appreciate their quality. And it makes me excited to think, where else can we do this?

The benefits that being patient can give you in business and in life

Growth

We all want our businesses to grow. That may mean a bigger workforce, increased profit, influence, asset creation, bringing value into our communities. There are many ways to grow, just as there are many things in nature which grow. And yet, it can be so tempting to think, faster is better, we must have it now. If we can save time, we should. When I speak to people who have been in business for decades, they often tell me that a state of steady progressional growth is best, and I am inclined to agree.

Growth can also bring problems into your business. If you grow too quickly, you may not be able to offer the same standards to your clients as you have before; or you may need to quickly create infrastructure, policies and procedures. Good things take time to make. Like babies taking 9 months, or the changing of the seasons. No matter how much we may want to change this, growth must involve periods of waiting and expectation.

If you can bring patience into your approach to business, then your growth can be deep and long lasting. A patient business person can invest in property or financial portfolios over a period of decades. A patient business person can see that new young members of staff must be both supported and held accountable over a period of time to become experienced and responsible – this in particular, cannot be rushed. A patient business person can see that their business has value and potential for growth that they may not even be able to conceptualise at the moment- and it excites them!

Relationships

Real, deep, nourishing relationships take time to create. With your customers, your suppliers, your referral partners, your employees, your peers. If you doubt this, just think of how much time you have spent in your life getting to know, and hopefully befriend yourself, so far. It’s taken decades. So why should we rush this? Why should we expect to obtain such treasures as trust and reputation in days, weeks, months or even years? We have no right or entitlement to that. Instead, we have the opportunity to do right by others every day, and so to create bonds that can become tighter, stronger, firmer and potentially, even unbreakable.

If you can be patient in your relationships, you can build true trust with others.
If you can be patient in your relationships, you will see the beauty of the other person as they change, adapt and grow.
If you can be patient in your relationships, you will be able to see that the other person is doing the best that they can, in that moment, with what they know.
If you can be patient in your relationships, you will never expect from others right away, and thus be more willing to give understanding and to listen properly to them.
If you can be patient in your relationships with others, you will give them the time and space to feel comfortable to be their true self around you – this is one of the great privileges of life.

Health

Steven Covey in his time matrix helped me to learn that the most important things, such as building relationships, values clarification and re-creation, are not actually urgent. And that’s why good health can be so difficult to cultivate.

If we do not eat well, exercise, sleep well and look after our stress for a few days, maybe even a few weeks, nothing too major would happen. However, if we did this for several years, we may be dead! So what is happening here in relation to our health, patience and the passage of time?

I think a very simple way to cultivate health through applied patience is to use this self-reflective question – is the choice I can making going to benefit and improve my current and future health? Good choices, movement choices, environmental choices, and sleep choices. All of these areas, when combined, can add up to wonderful, sustained health, and create a vitality and energy which you can then bring into your business.

I’ve learned so much about health and fitness over the past 15 years or so. And I’d like to give you a real life example of how I have been applying patience into my training and nutrition, and how I see my body.

For the first six weeks of this year, I applied a lot of discipline and worked out regularly at the gym, ate well, and walked every evening. And over a period of six weeks, I lost quite a lot of fat from my body, and saw some noticeable positive changes. This is good, but as I have learned over the years, real valuable health should be sustainable – it’s a way that you live, not a place to arrive at for a short amount of time.

And so, on a recent business trip, I was delayed by several days away from home. I couldn’t work out as I usually could. It wasn’t possible to eat as I normally do. I couldn’t sleep as I normally do. All of the usual choices that I make, were either taken away from me or reduced. In the past, this would have caused me distress, as I would think that I would undo in a few days, the health and fitness progress that I had made in six weeks.

But nature doesn’t work like that, nature works long term, and nature is patient. So I know that even if I put on a few pounds of weight, I can lose them in a couple of weeks. So why not be ok with them now, knowing that they are temporary? This patience with myself gave me a better perspective on the issue. So, if you’re currently unhappy with any aspect of your health or your body, try applying a similar patient approach. Be a friend to yourself as you go through the ongoing transformations and changes that all of us go through over the years.

Judgements

Making judgments in business is an essential part of daily life. And you may well have to make dozens of them every day: regarding products, services, marketing, sales, relationships, branding, personnel, issues, problems, opportunities and vision. And I would suggest that applying patience in the judgements that you make, will empower you to make better ones that will bring about the most benefit for yourself and for others.

So often, our emotions and thoughts fade away, but our actions and their consequences will remain. It can be difficult to apply patience every day, so be kind to yourself as you attempt to step outside of the present moment, and try to see the long term big picture for your business and life.

Here are some self reflective questions to help you to bring patience into the judgments and decisions that you make for both your business and your life

Is this a decision that I will be happy with next week, month and year?
Is there value here that I am missing in the present moment?
Will there be opportunities in this area in the next 10 years?
Is my current emotional state going to enable a good or bad judgement here?
Do I need to learn more about this area before I make my decision?
Have I judged this person too early?
Am I being too hard on myself here?
Is this in line with my values, which will not change over time?
Can I allow myself to get better at this over time, rather than needing to be brilliant right now?
Who will benefit if I think long term here?

Part 3 – five ways to practice bringing patience into your life 

So now we understand some of the benefits that patience can bring as gifts to you, let’s look at some actions that you can take to cultivate this patience on a daily basis.

1. Waiting

See every waiting moment as a chance to be patient – with others, with the situation and with yourself.

This might be waiting in traffic, for resources to download, for food to cook, for the weather to change. And know that you don’t have to do anything when you are waiting. Know that by being patient in the moment, you are allowing space in your day, and the true value of the present moment to be revealed through the passage of time. These can be moments of rest, self reflection or mind wandering for you. We don’t need to fill every moment with productive actions.

Waiting will always be a part of business and life – without it, everything would be happening all at once. Consider that. I also like to remember that waiting keeps me humble, because it reminds me that the world is not set up to make me happy and satisfy me in every moment, and nor should it. This humility can be very nourishing for our spirit. Try it, see how many times you can embrace waiting today, and not see it as a bad thing or a waste of your time.

2.  Paying attention 

Pick 1-3 things a day and pay attention to them.

Really look, listen, feel, smell, taste, touch them. Experience them and explore what they mean to you. This could be looking at the patterns of fabric on your towel, listening to the sounds of your commute traffic. Maintaining eye contact in your next conversation with someone. Truly being present in the present moment allows us to take part in it, but also remember that it is fleeting, passing and will soon be gone. And so this appreciation of the present moment can actually fuel your ability to cultivate patience, as it can help you to appreciate the transient and temporary nature of everything. Allowing things to come and go into the passage of time, can help you to deal with the challenging aspects of life, as well as cherish the good.

3. Past and future events

Pick a future event that you are wanting and looking forward to – getting a new client or piece of work, making a sale, creating a new product, enjoying a special anniversary.

Allow yourself to be excited, and to anticipate it. Then know that it is not here yet, and so let it go, knowing that every second, minute and hour will bring it closer. This letting go, is another aspect of patience – allowing time to do its work to manifest the event into your reality.

Similarly with a past event, think of a good or bad one. Analyse it, explore it and then let it go. This time allowing it to become part of the time that has already passed. Let the thoughts and emotions associated with it go too, these are often what anchor us to these events and keep them as if they are still occurring in our lives. Start with small things with this. If they were good, great! Allow yourself to reminisce, and then let them go. Equally, if they were bad, allow yourself to reflect, and then let them go too.

4. Doing something long and difficult 

The best things that I have experienced in my life have all been long term and difficult.

Several of them actually have unlimited capacity and are bigger than me, and will never be fully explored. Here are some of them, all of which I would suggest you could give a try, to benefit from the patience, among many other gifts, which they can give you.

Music – this accompanied me for over 20 years. It has brought joy, happiness, consolation, serenity and peace and allowed me to play and enrich dozens of special life occasions for others.

Jiu Jitsu – practising this martial art for 12 years brought me discipline, grit, determination, confidence, calmness, strength and some amazing experiences.

Speaking other languages –  these have opened up my mind, taught me history, given me new friends, improved my intelligence and created incredible business and life opportunities.

Business – this has brought freedom, inspiration, love, connectedness and self-transcendence beyond any of which I could have imagined.

I have shared these 4 examples, as none of these can be mastered in a week, a year, 10, or even a lifetime.

There is immense value for you to gain by allowing yourself to stick with something and not give up, over a long period of time. It can, in so many ways, allow you to grow yourself to a whole other level.

So try something new – a hobby, a language, a sport, anything. But stick with it for a year. Make a commitment. Don’t give up. The true value will only be revealed to you over time, you cannot just buy it or expect it ASAP. But once you have earned it, over a long period of time, this value and growth can never be taken away from you. Never.

5. Calibrated questions to help you to self reflect

Try asking yourself these questions regularly throughout your day, and consider them more deeply during your weekends.

How can I apply patience in this area?
Where am I being asked to develop my patience?
When am I currently impatient?
Why do I quit things?
When am I willing to hang in there?
Do I need to be busy all of the time?
What will my business and my life look like in 5, 10, 20, 50 years?
Who do I know who is very patient? What do they do?
Can I be kind to myself in this moment as I try to become more patient?Can I show kindness to those who are not patient towards me? (This one is brilliant, if you can do it).
If you would like to study patience further, I would recommend listening to or reading:

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu

12 and a half  – Gary Vagnerchuck

Meditations – Marcus Aurelius

Final thoughts

Your patience can grow.

It’s less like a bucket, with a limited amount of liquid patience inside. Instead, it is more like an elastic band, just when you feel that you might snap, you can pull back and reclaim your elasticity. And then stretch further.

Evolution is patient – it took billions of years of years to create you, consider that.

And remember the instantaneous nature of our current hurry up and wait Covid culture. To be highly patient at the moment is to be a bit counter cultural, so why not try and be a bit of a rebel?

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
– Prayer of Saint Teresa of Avila


How to keep in touch with Kataholos:

How to build trusting relationships

As humans, we all need to belong.

And creating trusting relationships will allow us to create places where all feel safe, valued and able to fully be ourselves.

What it is trust? And why are trusting relationships so important?

I have learned so much about trust recently over the past four years running my business Kataholos. I want to share as much of this information with you as I can here, in the hope that it can help you as much as possible.

We hear a lot about trust in life. From our early school days learning about it through friendships, into our young and then adult relationships. And in the business world, especially during covid times, we hear a lot about the importance and necessity of trust between individuals, groups and nations.

I talk with – and listen to – a lot of different people, from all over the world these days; and when there is no trust, these have been some of their experiences:

• I just didn’t feel safe
• That should never have happened
• I don’t believe a word they say
• How can I trust them now?
• They have ruined it
• I don’t know them well enough
• I don’t think they are sincere
• I think it’s time we parted ways…

Have a look at that list. Would you want the people that you care about to be saying that about you and your business? No way. Let’s see how we can stop you getting into a conversation where someone could be saying that about you.

So, how can you do this?

Well, I am a big believer in lifelong learning. And one of the best aspects of that is it keeps me constantly open to anything and anyone in our world. This can then provide so many opportunities to for me to learn and develop. And so, here are 4 areas where I have recently learned about the importance of trust- some more expected than others!

My business: having high trusting relationships with clients and associates has become one of the most important aspects of my business. It is right up there with value and cash flow. I have learned this just by listening to my clients telling me how important it is to them.

My family: I have young nephews and nieces, and over the past few years, after being there at every birthday and special occasion, we have built very strong trusting relationships. And as a result, we have had some amazing, funny, touching, moving, unique family occasions!

My dog: I will one day write an entire blog on our Kataholos mascot Cotchi, our brown labrador dog. He trusts us to feed him, take care of him and love him. And when he is not well, because he cannot talk, he comes to us in his vulnerability and trusts us to take care of him.

Love island: I’ve always found reality tv shows to be fascinating from a psychological point of view. As well as the small vicarious thrill of imagining myself being one of the participants, I just find it really interesting seeing how people present themselves – though I try not to watch too much of it now.And Love island, for all of its faults, taught me the phrase, “Back yourself!”- meaning to believe and trust in yourself and your abilities. After all, if you don’t trust yourself, why should someone else?

These are just some of mine. How about you? Are your professional and personal relationships teaching you about trust? What could they be helping you to learn? Are you open to trusting and believing in yourself? This can be one of the biggest blockers in getting people to trust you, and it is definitely important to heal and resolve.

If you find it hard to trust yourself at the moment, and you do not currently appreciate just your how wonderful you are, have a look at this blog to help you:

https://kataholos.co.uk/its-who-you-are-that-matters

So, now we have looked a bit at why low trust is something to avoid, and considered what you could currently be learning about trust in your life, let’s explore some of the benefits that high trusting relationships can bring you and your business.

The benefits of high trusting relationships

Here are some of the benefits you can enjoy once you have high trusting relationships with your important people. I have also included the wording from certain clients of mine below-have a look at the words that people choose to say – they are very important to pick up on:

• You will not need to sell anything to your clients
• You will feel both confident and relaxed
• You will have more fun
• You will feel able to voice your opinion freely
• You will be seen as an authority and highly credible
• You can hold people to account regarding their actions
• You will be given new opportunities
• You will be well thought of
• I feel safe with you
• I feel like I know you so well already
• I felt I could reach out to you
• We trust your judgement
• No problem, let’s do it!

Aren’t these wonderful? And you are most probably on the way to enjoying these already. Most people are, but they don’t realise just how well they are doing in building trust with their people. This may be because it is not always talked about that often, depending on where you work in your sector, and even company to company.

Here are 4 other important things that I have learned to help you to manage expectations regarding how long it takes to build trust and what you can expect from people.

Two I have learned from networking, the other from a world class leader, and lastly from my father and Irish culture.

Paradoxically, if you are building trust properly, it can be challenging work, but easy in its spirit, as you know you are doing the right thing for the other person.

1. The trust curve

Imagine a rocket taking off the ground. It takes so much energy to just clear the floor, and then too as it takes off into the sky, but once it reaches a certain height…it’s just easy. That’s one way to help us to conceptualise the effort it takes, at the start, to build trust. Another is to imagine going up a curve in a graph, through a series of steps. And again, one you reach a certain point, you have built sufficient trust, and will not need to start again from zero each time.

2. Trusting fast and slow

A brilliant piece of advice that I got from a friend, when I was quite new to networking, was this: “Mike, some people trust fast, and some people trust slow.” It’s so true! There is nothing worse than being someone who trusts quickly and putting lots of effort in with someone, who may just naturally take a while to trust; you may think you are doing something wrong. You are not. You just interpret how long it should take to build and give your trust differently. Consider for each context – business, family etc – if you trust slow or fast. And manage your expectations of the other person by knowing what their trust speed is too. And the simplest way to find out is just to ask them and tell them why you are doing so.

3. Stephen Covey’s Emotional Bank Account

This is a fantastic metaphor, which I learned from world class leader and businessman Stephen Covey. I highly recommend that you invest in reading or listening to his book The 7 habits of highly effective people.

The Emotional Bank Account invites you to imagine that you have a bank account with each person you know. When you do good things with and for them, it’s like making a deposit in a bank account and building up money. And if you do bad things, that person will see it as making a withdrawal from the account and you will lose trust.

I love this. It is so simple and explains why so many of us hate being sold to, as soon as we meet someone. As using this metaphor, we can clearly see that without possessing a strong relationship first, the other person is asking us to make a withdrawal of our time, money, attention or something else, without having made enough deposits first.

4. Failte rabat – welcome friend

My father taught me this beautiful Irish concept. The phrase means welcome friend, and it’s all about how we build trust through making the other person feel safe and welcome.

Imagine I am in a safe space on one side, and you are in your safe space on the other. I do not expect you to come to me. And equally I will not come all the way over to you. But I am willing to leave my safe space, if you will do the same. And we can come together in the middle and build a new place that is safe for us both.

I can think of no more beautiful way to define the action of building trust with another.

So now we have gained a bit more of an understanding of the benefits of having high trusting relationships, what can you do to help you to build them with your important people?

Six ways to help build trusting relationships

1. Make it a priority and important in your business and in your life

I thought that I valued trust highly already, but the more I have focused on it, the more I have seen how essential it is. Just like there is more to your business than making money, the same is true with trust. The time will pass anyway this year, so why not keep building trust alongside it? Then you can look back and know that your time has been invested well. A high trusting relationship with someone else is one of the greatest jewels in life.

If you’d like some help in making building trust an important priority in your business and in your life, I highly recommend that you read or listen to this book:

Trust-based selling by Charles H Green.

2. Ask – will this help build trust?

Whenever you are about to take action or make a decision, ask yourself,

“Will this help build trust – in you? In your business? In your brand? With your people? With your products?” If the answers is yes, then do it. If the answer is no, then don’t do it!

Some common yes actions might include:

• Being honest always
• Being on time or early if possible
• Adding value without wanting a return
• Showing kindness
• Considering the other person first
• Being flexible to help accommodate their needs

And some common no actions might include:

• Being late
• Ghosting people – please don’t do this
• Not listening properly – we can all be guilty of this
• Focusing on your needs first in every interaction
• Being unsympathetic to people’s current situations

3. Always do the right thing for the other person

Your role in building trust with another is to always do the right thing by them. So you always need to be honest. If your product or service is not right for them, tell them. If someone else would be better, connect them and make it happen. It’s all about helping the other person. Just imagine, how grateful would you feel if all the people you knew were just trying to do the right thing for you? You can make this real by being this person for someone else.

4. Listen and affirm people – always

When someone important to you is talking, listen. Really listen. Pay attention to how they express feelings, concerns, the intonation of their voice, their body language. Their facial expressions. Make notes. Listen with a view towards helping, not taking action. When they have finished, allow a pause. Give them some space to see that you are doing your best to make them feel welcome, as failte rabat has taught us.

5. Show them that you care – remember the little things

You can really have some fun with this.
Try to remember as much as you can about people who are important to you:

• Their likes and dislikes
• Their health
• Their family
• Their goals and dreams
• How their business is going
• Their little quirks
• Their favourite things

Whenever you remember something about someone and make reference to them, what you are really saying is:
“I see you, and I care about you, I care about you enough to remember all these things about you. You are important to me”.
Wouldn’t you want to trust someone who makes that level of effort for you?

6. Allow time – you cannot force it. Your efforts come from you, they will accept them in their own time

This can be difficult. Trust takes time to build. If it didn’t and was given right away, it would be meaningless. This can be challenging, as it requires us to be patient and respectful of the other person and how slowly or quickly that they may trust. But just remember, if you do it right and think long term, you will only have to get the rocket off the ground once. Then floating in space will be a lot easier and more fun for both involved!

When trust is broken and the risk you take

Everything in life involves risk. So yes, you may trust some people and it doesn’t work out. That is certainly going to happen. But I think being accepting of this, takes a lot of the shock out of it for us. People may try to hurt us and not be worthy of our trust, that it a fact.

But it does not, in any way, subtract from the precious few with whom we enjoy wonderful, high trusting relationships.

It is not for those who do the wrong thing to have a say in how we should live our lives. They should have no power over us, because we will not give it to them. If someone has hurt you and is not worthy of your trust, then it is their loss and they are worse off without you. You retain your dignity, you trust in your own self-respect and your openness to trust again. This cannot be taken from you.

Your best people will always aim to do right by you and for you.

A life without trust is not one that is worthy of you.

How to apply this in your business and your life today –  just pick one thing

We have looked at a lot here about trust, so to keep it simple, just pick one thing that speaks to you most and apply it.

Here are 3 closing principles to keep in mind, to make sure that whatever trusting actions you take, that they are successful for all.

1 Trust in yourself and your business – back yourself, remain open to trusting and keep it at the top of your important list

2 Pick one of the 6 suggested actions and do it every day for a month – then write down your reflections and results at the end of the month

3 Begin to use the word trust in your everyday language – do not be scared to use the word trust and the phrase “I trust you”, in your daily talk with your people. Encourage them to do the same.

Final thoughts

 

If your business is all about people and about relationships, then trust is for you.

Trust is the safe space – where we can grow

Trust is the enabler – to open life up to us

Trust is the way – to a place where all belong

 

Love and best wishes


How to keep in touch with Kataholos:

Self-reflection can help you to understand where you are and how you really are doing

What can you do to gain some clarity on where you are, where your people are and how your business is doing – beyond the numbers and data – at this unprecedented time in our world history?

I am sure that you are working as best as you can, and giving all that you can. So how can you do anything more?

Of course, you cannot. The way forward involves being a bit more left-field in our strategic thinking, and not always approaching things head on. Like when you look directly at a star at night out, it may seem dim. But if you look out of the corner of your eye, it will twinkle and dazzle.

Let’s do that with our thinking.

 

The problem with over analysing yourself

Are you on the go all of the time, especially over these past two years? I get it, you are not alone. And when you get a spare five minutes to yourself, you are often too tired to think straight, and may find yourself: catastrophizing, brooding, being too self-critical, or ruminating in a negative way.

I suggest that self-reflection, when performed properly, can cut through these things and provide a shining clarity of vision, some key realisations and some help to see a way forward. But self-reflection as a life skill is not taught particularly well. I would like to help you with that.

So here are five mental techniques that you can use, to direct and guide your self-reflection so that it has depth, insight, strategy and purpose.

The 5 self-reflection mental techniques

1. Be a success collector 

I first got into the habit of writing down three things I was grateful for daily, after learning it from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). However, one of my personal coaches once challenged me, telling me that I had – at the time – a very narrow, performance/results based view of success. He helped me to see that my success could be whatever I wanted it to be – not just achieving large goals and accomplishments.

So try this.

For a week, write down three successes for you from each day, but they can be whatever you want, as small as you like. Doing so will begin to expand your definition of what success means to you in your business, your relationships and your life. Here are some real life examples from our clients to help you:

• I prepped and ate a healthy lunch
• I picked up my son from school
• I did not get angry when stuck in traffic
• I gave a spare mask to someone who needed it
• I stuck to my new daily walking routine
• I kept my calm when dealing with a difficult family member 

2. Ask open ended value-based questions 

Closed questions involve a yes or no answer. They can be very useful to ask when you are short on time, for example:

Can I make a cup of coffee in the next five minutes before my next zoom meeting? 

Whereas open ended questions use:

Who have I enjoyed working with this year?
Why am I feeling a sense of dread?
What is the most important task to complete before the end of the year?
When can I find some time for me and my partner?
Where can I cut down on how much I am doing each week?
How can I separate myself from the noise and time wasters of my industry?
Which person do I need to give more time and attention to? 

And these may not even require or result in an immediate answer. In fact, I would suggest that you use them as a mental tool to allow the deeper parts of your mind and of yourself to find some insightful answers, which may come over hours, days or weeks.

To make them especially useful for you, make them aligned to how well you are living aligned with your deepest values – the most important parts of yourself.

For example – if your values are integrity, innovation, and having fun.

How have we demonstrated our integrity to our clients this year?
Where have we added the most fun to our processes and services?
Why is innovation consistently so important to me? 

If you are not sure what your personal/and/or business values are, click here for some help.

https://kataholos.co.uk/how-to-know-your-values-create-a-vision-and-nourish-it-for-success

3. Partial successes 

There will be many instances this year where you may well not have been able to achieve your goals or offer your full solutions. This could well be for many reasons, which are currently out of your control, such as:

• Supply chain issues
• Restrictions on travel
• Staff members being ill with covid
• Exhaustion
• Change in customer trends
• Uncertainty in your industry
• Rise in customer expectations 

You can only do what you can do in these circumstances.

And so there may be times this year where you didn’t achieve all of something, but you did part of it or some of it. That is something to be celebrated! And if you were able to be true to your deepest values during those moments, then even better!

So much of life involves partial successes; then if you take some self-reflection time to analyse them, you can set yourself up for future successes.

Try this – write down three partial successes that you have had in your business and/or in your life this year. Then use some open ended self-reflection questions, such as those suggested above, to extrapolate out future process/process/value changes or improvements that you can use in your future.

4. Challenges overcome 

It is always brilliant to take some time to see just how far you have come, and to be proud of yourself. Seriously, we don’t do it enough!

You may feel like you have taken 20 steps backwards this year. But if you have also taken 50 steps forwards, then you are still 30 steps better off than you were before! Never let a backwards step cloud you to your real long term progress: as it can be viewed through the long term lenses of your years, your decades and your legacy.

Make sure that everyone knows how proud you are of them for the challenges which you have overcome this year. Even if the main one is that you are still in business and healthy, that is a monumental achievement in our current circumstances.

Celebrate challenges overcome – never downplay them.

5. What would I tell a friend?

Forget yourself for this last self-reflection tool.

We can so often get in our own way, so let’s try something different. Think about a great friend of yours, from the past or right now. Imagine that they were going through all that you are going through right now. What would you tell them? What would say?

You would probably:

• Affirm them
• Tell them how well they are doing
• Give them a chance to vent how they are feeling
• Give them your opinion
• Offer support
• Remind them that they can come to you anytime
• Tell them that you believe in them

Actually use your imagination to visualise yourself sat down having a chat with them, you saying these things to them and how happy they look and how good you both feel.

It’s a lovely thought exercise to do. 

Now know this. You can apply the exact same love and kindness to yourself. And if you still struggle with this, play out the same scenario in your head and visualise and imagine all of the good, helpful, supportive things which your great friend would say to you.

Taking Action

Pick your favourite of the five self reflection techniques and begin applying it into your life today. 

As a further action step, as there are five, you could implement one each week during the last five weeks of this year. 

Final thoughts

Now is the time to come home to yourself
Take off the bag of worries
Remove the coat of your concerns
Sit and warm yourself by the heat of your true essence

Spend some time with yourself in the quiet
To nourish your weary parts

Consider the wonder of your life
And be open to what comes next

May it be as vital and full of energy
As the heart of a dog and the smile of a child

 


How to keep in touch with Kataholos:

How proper planning, rest and recovery can take your performance to the next level

Part 1 – Planning

The “Do More” culture

Do you find yourself working at, or often, beyond capacity at the moment? 

Do you find that no matter how much you do, there is always more for you and you are finding it disheartening?

Then this blog is for you. I would like to try and help you with that 

I saw a picture when searching through some office based images recently, which terrified me. It was of a woman sat at a desk, as you may be now, with her various laptops, pens, paper and stationery. And on her computer screen, set against a huge black background were simply two words…DO MORE

This image encapsulates to me the feeling that so many people in the business world, whom I talk to, feel at the moment. Perhaps it was always this way, but especially over the past two years, the often unseen or unspoken expectation to be always available, always doing more, always ready, has become insidious.

If we are not able to take a hold of our own minds and expectations in this current business climate, then there are many who will do so for us; often resulting in us feeling worn out, exhausted, under appreciated or doubting ourselves. 

Just look at those who work in the UK in the NHS, the care home sector, truck drivers and teachers. These are just some examples from the public sector of how far people have been pushed recently, and my heart goes out to every one of them.

For us as business owners, as leaders, as those who work in the business sector, we have a great privilege – though it can so often feel like a great burden – to make it happen ourselves: to win the work, to make the product, to provide the vision, to lead the team. We can feel that if we don’t do it, then it will not get done. And that is where a lot of people are getting unstuck at the moment. 

As I often say to clients, don’t perform like a professional and rest like an amateur.

This blog is designed to give you help you to rest and recover properly, which if done properly, can and will lead to you having improved energy levels, efficiency, productivity, and ultimately, results for you and your business.  

Part 1 focuses on the importance that proper planning will play for you in this process.

3 key concepts to help you when planning for your professional life  

Let’s begin by looking at there key concepts that I suggest you keep in mind when scheduling your work, managing your time and energy and making plans for the future of your business and of your life.

The Pareto principle of 80/20. The majority of your best work/clients/customers will come from a small amount of places. It’s not enough to just get stuff done, focus on who or what that 20% is and the focus of your workload will be much sharper.

Keep asking yourself – what is the top 20% I could be putting my efforts into?

Plastic time – Salvador Dali’s Masterpiece artwork, The persistence of memory shows a desert scene full of melted clocks. When you are doing something or with someone you love, time seems to melt away. Your perception of time can seem to speed up or slow down, depending on if the moment is enjoyable. Keep this in mind, as there is much more to how you spend your time than just the seconds, minutes and hours. 

The market/business world is not fair – yes, it is excellent to help people to rise up and increase opportunities for as many as possible. But we see so often, that it is not the hardest workers in business who necessarily do the best. In that way, it is not “fair.” If we do not expect fairness, and aim to just make the most of what we have and what we are given, then we will not have unmet expectations of “fairness” unfulfilled. Embracing the fact that the business world is not equally fair sounds scary in theory, but in practice can be quite liberating, as it means that we can take ourselves towards a success with no limit on it. 

Now let’s look at how all balance and all success begins with good planning. 

A Planning Model for you

In my teaching days, I was taught a simple, highly effective planning model called

Plan Do Review

would plan out a series of lessons, deliver them, then review how they went. This review would then inform my next planning, which would benefit the next lessons and subsequent reviews.

After repeating this cycle thousands of times, I began to realise that it was the planning and reviewing that added up to be the most important parts. If I did not plan properly, then the lessons would be ineffective. Then if I did not review it, I would miss opportunities to make positive adjustments and changes, based on what I had learned in the lessons. 

And so it is also in business. We can spend so much time in the DO-ing, that we do not plan beforehand, as we say we “haven’t got the time.” Equally, if things do not go well, then we may not want to face the difficult task of reviewing them. And if they do go well, we can equally blind ourselves by not looking at why it was so, what went well, and how this could be repeated.

When I say you must plan for any kind of success of satisfaction or achievement in business, or in life, it is not hyperbole. It is essential. But don’t worry, your planning does not need to be complex, complicated, or even take a lot of time. 

It is the ability and the skill to plan consistently, to be able to create a plan and stick to it and focus on it that counts.

To help you, here are some examples of types of planning which you can use.

Life goals and dreams

Take 20 minutes to write down all the things you really would love to achieve, enjoy and be in your business and in your life. Do not be realistic. Write them all down, and get excited about them. Use these as a compass to guide you in your remaining time alive.

10 year plans

It is amazing what you can achieve in this time frame. Your business and your life can look totally different. Just look at the improvements in technology in the last 10 years! 

Write down what you want your business and your lifestyle (both equally important) to look and feel like in the next 10 years. Very important – write and plan if as if it is actually going to happen, then your mind will think, “Well yes, why not? Why can’t I make it happen? I am going to try!

5 year plans

Again, this might seem like a long period of time, but it will come round quick. Kataholos has been, at the time of writing this, going for 3 and a half years. And I am amazed at all we have achieved in that time. So, 5 years is enough time to completely re-invigorate your business. Or even start up a new one! Again, plan like IT IS going to happen. 

3 year plans 

This is an excellent medium term time frame. In this period of time you can make great strides in improving your processes, forming and nourishing great relationships, and really taking your business to the next level. This period of time seems to go quite fast, so make sure to include more details on HOW you are going to achieve something.

Yearly plans 

So many people put too much into their yearly plans. Have 1-3 main focuses for your business, and for your life, which come from your core values of who you are and what you are all about. And stick to them – don’t get distracted by shiny objects. 

Planning can, and should, involve saying no to several things, to make sure you are focusing on the right things for you and your business. 

90 day plans 

is my favourite type of planning for business. It goes so quick, but seems to be a perfect period of time to be able to get things done and begin to see results in business, (though this will, of course, depend on what your business involves.)

Here is what I recommend for 90 day planning.

Draw 3 big circles or boxes on a sheet of paper facing horizontally. Label them as the next 3 months. Then begin by putting all the important events – the things that HAVE to happen – in them. Then put down any special projects or occasions that are coming up (such as expos, people’s birthdays, holidays). Then add important projects you would like to compete, or spend time working on in that time. 

And you will begin to get a picture of what to expect over the next 3 months, and how they all link together. Then I would advise putting a small box to the side of each one, with the title “Focus” and adding one special focus for each month. They could be: create new product/service, fill sales pipeline, marketing review, annual board meeting etc.

I would advocate also doing the 90 day activity for your personal life, then monthly, weekly and daily goals and lists for that too. That way, you will know that you are also applying the same strong focus on what is important to you as a person – your relationships, health, family etc.

Monthly plans

Then, informed by your 90 day plan, take the items in your first month circle or square, and write a list of professional goals for the month, and the month’s focus. Then tick them off as they are done – this is highly satisfying, because you will know that you are spending time on the right things, having looked at the bigger and long term pictures first. 

Weekly and Daily plans

These are very simple. Take the items from your monthly lists and create weekly and daily to do lists from them. 

Special event plans

Special events will always benefit from advanced planning. These could include client meetings, attending expos, networking meetings and unique events like birthdays or work anniversaries. 

Contingency plans 

So many people wish they had made a plan after things go wrong. So be brave and spend some time creating a plan, even a rough one, for what to do in these circumstances:

You are ill
There is a death in the family or at work
You lose your best client
There is an environmental problem

If you are reading these examples and feeling a bit overwhelmed, don’t be! You do not have to begin using all of these types of planning, just pick what resonates with you at the moment. I would recommend you start with a 90 day plan, a weekly and a contingency plan, and see how you get on.

When you have written or drawn up a plan, you will feel calmer. You really will. I created a 90 day plan recently, and did the same with some clients, and we all enjoyed seeing what the next 3 months would look like and bring: clearly on the page in front of us.

No matter what plans you create, remember, it is the ability to create plans consistently and use and stick to them, that is the true value. Yes, you can alter plans, and yes you can plan in whichever way suits you. 

And so for all plans I would  suggest that they include the following:

  1. The end result   the goal, what you want 
  2. The how – how are you going to make it happen? Who is involved? Where, when? Etc. This will be where you spend most of your time and efforts
  3. What could do wrong – and what can you do to help if it does? 
  4. What is the value – for you and for others – does it strengthen a relationship? Provide a service? Something more? 
  5. Where have you got the plan to refer to – so you can check it and tick it off when it is done – on your phone, a document, a piece of paper, an online file etc.

Here is an example of this 5 part planning framework being being applied to help you further.

Plan for an introverted young man visiting a networking meeting 

  1. What do I want – to gain the contact details of 3 people I could book in a virtual coffee meeting with, to explore potential collaborations 
  2. How, where, when etc – I will attend X group on X date at X venue 
  3. If I feel anxious or panic – I can go into the toilet, outside for some fresh air, have some soothing positive self talk cards with me to look at, or I could leave early if I need to 
  4. The value is – I could meet someone at the event who could have a massive positive effect on my business, so the value is huge 
  5. I will read this plan in my phone – prepare everything I need the night before, and tick this off on my weekly goals list when I have attended and got the contact details of the three people

Final thoughts to help you

In part 2 of this 2 part series, we will be looking at how to rest, recover and relax properly, the essential end part of the Plan, Do, Review model. 

Wondering where and when to implement this planning? Just start today. Just by making more time for proper planning and doing it regularly, you will be heading in the right direction for you so much quicker and more effectively. Keep your plans simple, focused on what is important, and review your progress in them regularly. And be proud of yourself. 

It takes great courage and bravery to step away from the DO MORE mentality and invest time instead planning, thinking about and crafting what the right things to commit your energy to are. So go for it.

Remember, you can’t perform like a professional if you plan like an amateur! 

Best wishes to you,


How to keep in touch with Kataholos:

 

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This blog is to help you with the pain in your life. Both pain and suffering are related and can be interchangeable. This blog will focus on helping you with physical pain and suggest three practices which you can begin to help you to manage your pain well and to see a way forward. 

Please note: I am not a medical professional and do not claim to be. Always seek a trained medical professional when making any important lifestyle changes. 

My pain story

When March 2021 came this year, I realised that with taking my business online and staying inside for over a year because of COVID, I had actually sat down all day most days for an entire year. Previous to that, I had always been on the go, keeping very fit, and enjoying an active lifestyle, whilst running a business. And although I managed to keep fit and well throughout the various lockdowns of the year, my body had reached a point where it had had enough….

Over years of wear and tear involving lifting weights, Jiu Jitsu and CrossFit, my lower back had taken quite a hammering. I had problems with it on and off for over 10 years, resulting in me getting an MRI Scan at one point. This only revealed wear and tear in one of my lower lumbar, something normal for someone of my age – which was a relief. The issue persisted for over 10 more years, but it had never been this bad before. For over two months of this year, I had to take anti-inflammatory medicines and painkillers every day 3-4 times a day. If I lay down, it hurt. If I sat down, it hurt. The whole area was inflamed, and I was in a lot of pain. More importantly, it had gotten into my head. 

Have you ever had pain that carried on for so long that you began to think, is it ever going to stop? Is this just how it is for me from now on?

I began not being able to see myself doing normal everyday movements such as walking, jumping, or running, pain free again. And that is not a good place to be in. Chronic pain – when you are in pain regularly due to an ongoing condition – is a huge problem for a lot of people. And I had become one of them. I began to realise just how fortunate I had been up unto this point, to usually wake up and not be in pain from when I got up to when I went to sleep. For a lot of people, they do not have that luxury. 

Here are some recent statistics on chronic pain 

Over 8 million people in the UK say they are in chronic pain
• 19.5 million people in the UK are in pain at least once a day

 You can read more about chronic pain in the UK here. 
38% of UK Adults are in Pain Daily – Chronic Pain Statistics 2020

And here are some statistics about chronic pain worldwide 

• Between 11% and 40% of US adults are living with chronic pain.
• Lower back pain is the most common type of chronic pain.
• At least 10% of the world’s population is affected by chronic pain.

thegoodbody.com/chronic_pain_statistics

So, if you are reading this, as one of these people, or you would like to know how I was able to find a way forward, there are 3 habits and practices that you can bring into your life to help you.

1. Use a weekly pain chart

 

This changed everything. I had become so frustrated by the seemingly random arrival and departure of the pain, that I felt that I was not in control of my body anymore. So, I did what all good business owners and teachers did – I wrote a list! More specifically, I logged when I felt pain and when I did not. A full day is a long time to be in pain, and I knew that logically the pain could not be a 10/10 all day, there had to be moments of relief. (By the way, my pain never reached a 10/10 on the pain scale used by medical professionals, as this is up there with torture and other life-threatening conditions.)

This is what I suggest that you do to create your weekly pain chart.

Take a blank piece of paper and divide it into 7 vertical columns and 4 horizontal columns. You are basically dividing the paper into the 7 days of the week and 3 sections for morning, afternoon, and evening. There is also a column at the bottom included for notes on each day. Then take 3 coloured pens and choose a colour to represent bad pain, ok and no pain. I chose green for no pain, yellow for ok and blue for bad pain. Then fill it in for an entire week. You can also add notes regarding what pain relief you may have taken or notes on what may have made it worse or helped.

This will give you several positive benefits. Firstly, it is reminding you that you are in charge of your days and your weeks, you can provide structure to your day, and are not at the mercy of pain. Secondly, by dividing your day into 3 parts, gives you 3 opportunities to have green moments. So, you may have had a blue morning and afternoon, but a yellow or green evening. This is a win! It demonstrates that you are not in pain all day, every day. This is an important mental shift. After doing this for a few weeks, what I noticed was that I was not logging as much blue or yellow, but more green. Then I began to focus on having green moments, then I had my first fully green day – it was an incredible moment! Now, I am actively focusing on how I can have regular green moments, and hopefully green days. If there are moments of pain or I must take pain relief, I know that these may be only 3 or 4 moments out of 21 in a week. This can provide you with a massive positive shift, from overwhelmed by pain, to actively logging and managing your pain, to enjoying moments where you have none and are looking for how you can get a good positive momentum going.

When I showed this to my  physio, she exclaimed, “What a great idea! I wish all of my patients did this…”

Here is a link to a free template you can use to do this. It is originally for tracking your moods, but you can simply change the focus to tracking your pain.

Free Resources – Kataholos

2. Move from generic and forever to temporary and specific

The second habit that I would suggest that you begin in your pain management, is to stop thinking that you pain has lasted forever and will do so. It is so common, to hear a conversation like this, when speaking with an unhappy friend:

I am going to say to myself each day,

“Hey, how are you?”
“Oh, things are terrible!”
“I am so sorry to hear that, what is wrong?”
“Everything!”
“And how long has it been like this?”
“Forever!!”

We have all been here when we are in pain haven’t we? We think that our pain, whatever it is, is the worst kind in the world. And similarly, it can confuse our perceptions, so we cannot imagine a time before when it began, or equally, beyond when it could end; despite the fact it may only have lasted for hours, minutes or even a few seconds. I am not, in any way, saying that physical pain is easy to handle, it is incredibly difficult. Some of my worst involved back and full body spasms, that would shock me down onto my knees. I would dread sneezing, because of the painful spasms it would be bring on. And for nearly a month, it would often take me 2-3 attempts to get out of a chair.

But what I am saying, is that the pain is one thing, how we think about it is another. So, try this now. Write down all the things that are currently causing you physical pain and have a good look at them. There may be 1 or 2 things, or even 5 or 6. But there will not be an infinite amount, therefore, they are manageable. You can make a massive positive shift from thinking you have EVERYTHING causing you pain, to 2 or 3 things.

Then the next thing to write down is this, how long have these issues been causing you pain? And similarly, how long do the pain episodes last? Be as specific as possible. This shift from generic thinking about your pain to specific, will help reduce its size down in your mind, into a more manageable thing, rather than an overwhelming emotional weight.

For me, I had severe lower back stiffness, combined with shooting pains and spasms on my lower left side. The stiffness could last for hours, and the spasms would be excruciating but only seconds. Remember, the acuteness and sharpness of the pain, such as muscle spasms, can make you fearful and think that they last longer than they usually do.

So, you now have begun the mental shift from thinking everything causes you pain to several things, or one thing cause you pain. And you have also made the important mental shift to thinking it has been like this – and will continue to be like this – forever, to a more specific time period. Here is a nice thought for you. The healing and curing process can often be a lot shorter than the time it took to cause an injury or pain, depending on what it is. For example, my back caused a lot of pain after a year of excess sitting, and now has begun to heal well in less than 3 months. Always remain hopeful about your pain, no pain lasts forever!

3. Create a plan for your pain

You are now tracking your pain, and have begun the mental shift towards seeing it as temporary and specific. This is wonderful! The last step now is to create a plan to help you to deal with your pain going forward.

Tim Ferrris delivered a fantastic talk about defining your fears, and having a plan to manage them. You can watch it here:

ted_talks/tim_ferriss

I suggest a similar approach in helping you to manage your pain, with two parts to it. Firstly, define what you do not want to happen, and then create a plan based around minimalising these things. And secondly, write a list of activities and actions that you can take to heal, and to move forward with your pain. Make sure to include a quick note on what this will do to help you. These are just suggestions based on my own experience with a painful back, feel free to take what you find useful and add your own.

Here is an example below:

Minimalising my pain

I want to avoid back spasms – avoid quick twisting or jerking movements.
Log pain with weekly pain chart – shift focus to self-empowerment, creates perspective.
• Do not sit down for more than 30 minutes at a time – movement will create less pressure on joints.
• Avoid heavy lifting for now until body feels ready – avoid further injury.
• Avoid long periods standing in one spot – as this can exaggerate pain – become more aware of what hurts my body at the moment.
• Use deep breathing when in moments of pain – to keep the mind focused away from overwhelm.
• Take pain relief as needed – treat the symptoms.

Healing my pain and moving forward

Visit a physio – receive a diagnosis and information from a trained medical professional.
Have a regular massage – promotes blood flow around the body and problem areas.
• Lose weight – creates less stress on my lower back.
Daily walks several times a day – lubricates the joints and gets the spinal fluid moving freely.
• Take pain relief when necessary – becomes a normal part of my day, not a big deal.
• Create some positive self-talk phrases about my body healing and say them to myself regularly – such as “my back is strong and healing well”- helps mental health.
• Enjoy moments with no pain – appreciate them – record them and focus on them – trains mind and body towards a pain free future.

Final thoughts – being proactive with pain

I would like to tell you a story that demonstrates just how much you can be in control of your pain, your mind, and your life, when you set your intentions properly and have a plan in place for your pain.

I was delivering a workshop for 16–18-year-olds at a local college. We were taking part in an exercise to encourage creative thinking. I had thrown a pen into the middle of the room and asked the young people to pick it up… but they were not allowed to use their hands. Initially, many were nervous, and no one came forward. But after one person managed it using their elbows, many others thought of ideas and successfully managed it. I will never forget one young man, who jumped to his feet, and came forward on crutches. He managed to entangle the pen between his crutches by his feet, and flipped it up, catching it in mid-air! Not only was this impressive, but it was also even more so when I knew his story.

He had come into the room on crutches, and I asked him what had happened to him. I thought he might have been involved in an accident. He told me, quite proudly, that no, it was because of a neurological condition that he had. He was happy to tell me that he was consistently in acute nerve pain. The young man was so at ease with his condition that he was happy to talk openly about it. I asked him how bad it was. He told me that he had gone to a hospital as a child and they had shown him a pain chart, which they used to help him to understand how strong his pain was. Low levels were things like broken bones, then further up the pain scale was childbirth, and above that, torture. I asked him when his nerve pain ranked on the scale, “Oh, it’s above torture…” he replied quite casually. I could not believe it.

This young man was not only consistently in acute nerve pain which ranked above torture regularly, but he had wasted no time in our session, in jumping to the front to get involved. And I never heard him moan or complain once. That particular session was for a small group of the highest achievers from the college, so he had applied himself to a very high standard in life already. I was amazed by him, and I still remember him, whenever I lose perspective on the pain I am feeling in my life.

No matter where you are, or what pain you are currently experiencing, there is always a way forward for you – like there was for this young man. Remember him, pass on his story, and I hope that his example is a source of great inspiration for you.

 

Best wishes


How to keep in touch with Kataholos:

 

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who you are matters so much

If you are a leader, a manager, a business owner, a teacher, a parent, a doctor, someone in a position where people look up to you, it can be so easy to be so hard on yourself.

They see your strength, you know your weaknesses.
They see how calm you are, you know how much you are panicking underneath.
They see your energy and vitality, they don’t know how much what you do takes out of you…. 

And on top of that, if you serve and lead from a place of love, you may be so focused on where you are going and how you are trying to improve and help your people, that you only briefly catch sight of yourself in the mirror, and may not even like what you see.

The above are all observations that I have gathered from working with hundreds of people over the past year or so, they are their words, and if any of them resonates with you, I want you to know four things:
 
1. You are not alone, unusual or a freak

2. It is not a sign that you are doing anything wrong

3. Who you are is even more important than what you do

4. You can always change for the better if you’d like to

This blog is to help guide your thinking in these four areas and offer you a practical exercise which you can try if you are open to change, as well as some deeper reflections for you to take to heart.

Step 1 – How are you now?

So how are you now? Really? Has this last year taken it out of you? Have you been thriving? Is it a mixture of both?

Here are some common recent expressions I have heard from clients:

I’m not allowing myself to look forward to things in case they don’t happen…
We have been able to leverage technology and grow so much!…
I’ve enjoyed so much quality time with my family…
I just can’t do three jobs at once, it’s just too much…

There’s quite a mixture there isn’t there? I wanted to show you that there has been no one size fits all reaction and way of life to what has been going on in the world recently. Many of us have swung from despair to joy, to boredom and frustration and back round.

But I’d like to go deeper than your recent emotions and what you have been telling people when they ask, “so how are you coping?” Let’s use some self reflective questions to probe some deeper thinking:

What have you learned about yourself recently?
What changes have you embraced that you didn’t think you could?
How are your relationships at the moment with the people closest to you?
What reactions, habits and routines are you currently doing that are not going well?

These deeper self reflection questions may bring answers quickly, from the quicker part of your brain. Or nothing may come initially and if you leave yourself some time to ponder and think, some realisations may come later from the slower part of your brain. Both are good and useful, so take your time.

Step 2 – Your Good and Bad Characteristics

Now I’d like you to try out this highly useful exercise, which focuses on your character, the foundations, the building blocks of who you are.

Binary distinctions have their limitations, but they can be incredibly useful: hot and cold, hungry and full, happy and sad. And although we are all highly complex, nuanced people, it can be very useful to sometimes use simple distinctions when we want to improve- such as good and bad, high quality and poor quality, high value and low value and good and bad.

So I would like you to create two columns on a piece of paper and label one Good characteristics and one Bad characteristics. Now spend 20 minutes or so writing all of your good and bad characteristics. Be totally honest with yourself, aim to fill both columns and if you struggle with either one, think of your relationships with your closest loved ones and how they see you.

Here are some examples to help you.

Good Characteristics

• Grateful
• Calm
Cheerful
Stoic
Gritty
Relaxed
Resourceful
Kind
Loving

Bad Characteristics

• Impatient
• Angry often
Easily offended
• Very shy
Aggressive
Passive
Too hard on myself
Too hard on others 

There are two ways of thinking about your characteristics, your personality, your mind- either you think they are fixed as they are, or that you can improve and grow.

Dr Carol Dweck in her work for over 20 years at Harvard University has popularised the terms fixed mindset and growth mindset to explain this. If you think you cannot change, you won’t. If you think you can, you will. And she has seen huge positive results in experiments with both children and adults to support this hypothesis. Equally, neuro scientists like Dr Caroline Leaf have helped us to understand that our neurons (brain cells) can grow, connect and rewire with others in a healthy brain as an ongoing process throughout life.

So both psychology and neuroscience are currently helping us to understand that we can consistently improve and grow, if we want to.

So let’s look back at your list. Look at all the good characteristics and take a moment to be really proud of them. Those, amongst others that you may not even realise, are why your loved ones and your people care about you so much. Feel proud of them, even if there is only one word on that list. Those positive characteristics can be the results of years of your efforts.

Now have a look at your bad list, remembering what we have learned from Drs Dweck and Leaf and pick just one that you would not like to be a part of your character from this day forward. Perhaps you no longer what to be impatient or easy to anger. Perhaps you are quite submissive and would like to be more assertive. This is a great realisation! Do not feel bad at any point or sorry for yourself, just pick one to improve.

Step 3 – How would you like to be?

I would like you to look again at all the good characteristics on your list and commit to putting them somewhere where you can see them often.

Take a picture of them on your phone or put them on your office wall. And make a commitment to continually keep demonstrating these characteristics to your yourself and others. Remember, you are more than just what you do. But what you repeatedly do every day gives you a strong indication of who you are, to both yourself and the world. So keep showing those good characteristics- our world needs them!

Now look at your one negative characteristic and get curious. HOW are you going to improve this? Here is a suggested example:

I am impatient

I am going to say to myself each day,

“My patience is unlimited”
“My patience is growing”
“I will look for opportunities in my day to practice my patience”
“I will no longer see myself as impatient- that is in my past”
“I will help others to be patient too”

This whole exercise of improving character is inspired by a lovely expression I heard from the wonderful Louise Hay about changing and working on yourself.

She said

You don’t need to be awful and need to change. You can be ok, and want to change too.

And I love that. I do not, for one minute, think that you are awful and need to change. What I do think, is that by consistently working on and improving our character, we can improve and raise ourselves to previously unheard of levels of patience, kindness, love, knowledge, wisdom and happiness. I know this, because for over 11 years now I have been doing this with people, and seen them contumely achieve this and astonish themselves. Not just with the results that they achieve, but with how good they feel both in themselves and with others.

So if the thought of this excites you, here is a reminder of what to do:

1. Know that you are loved and wonderful just as you are – you are not broken
2. Write a list of your current good and bad characteristics
3. Put the good ones somewhere where you can see them often
4. Pick one bad one and commit to improving and working on it every day for a month

I was also inspired by a myth about the American politician Abraham Lincoln who apparently wrote down a list of 15 bad characteristics which he did not like about himself. He then systematically took action to eliminate them, one at a time.

This year I personally have been working on being more cheerful, and it is working! It is an ongoing process, but I am miles ahead of where I would have been if I didn’t try.

Motivational wizard Tony Robbins says:

There’s a science to success, but there’s an art to fulfilment

And that’s what this blog and the characteristics exercise have been designed to help you with. 

I want you to both achieve what you want and enjoy the journey. More than just success in life, I want you to to feel the lovely satisfaction and the joy of knowing that someone loves you just as you are.

Because remember, wherever you are planning on going, you will take yourself with you. So build who you want to be into your vision and begin living it today.

I have learned from neuroscience and psychology about the brain and habits and routines, that the more you do-and more importantly BE something on a daily basis-the faster you will get to where you want to go.

• If you do something today, you are more likely to do it tomorrow.
• If you ARE something today, you are more likely to BE it tomorrow.

So remember this:

Final thoughts – why you matter

• Who you are as a person matters, it really does.
More than your accomplishments and failures.
• More than how people see you or what you do each day.
• You have been given a body, a mind, a personality and unique gifts and circumstances.

Use them! Embrace them, enjoy them, be with them and the people around you. Really be with them. Not just through screens. In person, from the heart. Listen deeply first and then talk, hug loved ones when they don’t expect it. The next time you look in the mirror, try and see what others see in you first – it can totally revolutionise the way you look at yourself and how you feel about yourself.

Those who love you see you with such joy and wonder, never forget that, in their eyes you are a walking sunbeam: you light up the room and warm those around you.

And if you ever doubt that, just think about how you feel about your close loved ones, does it fit that description? That’s the true value of who you are.

Even if you do not try out any of the exercises in this blog, and choose to just read and take it in, know that you are a very special person, simply because you exist; and you are worthy of love and great things.

You are a walking miracle, an example of life playing out in wonderful and often exciting and unusual ways, never forget that.

Best wishes


How to keep in touch with Kataholos:

 

Welcome to this second blog that aims to help you to make the most of this year! You can read part one here

kataholos.co.uk/how-to-cultivate-a-vision-to-lead-this-year-and-beyond

So you now understand what mindsight is, and you have taken the time to improve your thinking skills using:
 
  1. The paper clip test
  2. Open ended questions
  3. Fast and slow thinking
 
Now it is time to create a vision for your year and life ahead which is exciting, compelling, motivating and captivating!
 
We are going to do so using 3 steps
 
Step 1- define your values
 
Step 2- create a vision using the six boxes exercise
 
Step 3- know how to feed your vision

Step 1 – define your values

Before you know where you want to go, you need to take a minute to understand who you are, and what is important to you. Otherwise, you could drive yourself this year into a place that you don’t want to go to. Or even worse, get to somewhere, and realise that it wasn’t where you wanted to go to at all! Both of these are very common and easy to do.

So take some time now to define your values, what characteristics are most important to you. To help you, think of the answers to these questions.

How am I just normally? Without even trying, what comes naturally to me and is important to me?

And secondly, what kind of person would I like to be when I get go where I want to go?

To help you, here are some examples for you to pick from

  • Honesty
  • Fairness
  • Competition
  • Passion
  • Collaboration
  • Integrity
  • Family
  • Patience
  • Generosity
  • Kindness
  • Assertiveness
  • Confidence
  • Success

Now try and write 5, then get that 5 down to your top 3, then finally to your top 2 most important values.

You now know how you would like to be, as a person, which values your will be living when you get to where you want to go.

For example,

I will show integrity and love
I will be be confident and fair
I will be honest and patient

I got inspiration for this exercise from the wonderful work of Dr Brené Brown.

You can find out more about her here https://brenebrown.com

So now you know your values, and who you want to be this year, let’s take that to into crafting a vision for you and your people in your life.

Step 2 – create a vision using the six boxes

I took inspiration to create this exercise from an article I read over 15 years ago. In it, a young woman had written in to ask advice after breaking up with a partner and being heartbroken. I’ll never forget that the woman responding gave some brilliant advice:

“It may hurt now love,” she said,

“But he was only ever one part of your life. And losing him does not negatively affect the other areas of your life, where you have so much else going for you.”

I remember being so impressed by the idea that our lives have several distinct different parts to them, and not just one aspect.

So when you are creating your vision for your life and where you want it to go, as long as it holds true to your values, you want it to be multi-dimensional. It should include all the important areas of your life, not just one big important thing, which you hinge all your hopes and dreams upon.

So take out a blank piece of paper and a pen and divide it into six boxes. These are the main areas of your life. Write one in the top of each box. I’ve done this with a lot of people, and most people have 4/5 most important areas in their life. If you need to add more boxes, do so, but make sure you have at least 4 and no more than 10.

Here are some popular category ideas to get you started:

  • Health and wellbeing
  • Family
  • Work
  • Business
  • Hobbies
  • Community
  • Fun
  • Finances

Now imagine you are sitting down with a good friend and reflecting on your year, what would you want to say about your progress in those 6 areas? What would make you feel proud? Write these things in each box.

Often, when I do this with people, they talk about feeling great and relationships improving and projects moving forward. Feel free, if you have specific goals with numbers and dates, to include those. But goals and targets come afterwards. It’s quite easy to set up lists of what you have to do. It’s much harder to take the time to think about and cultivate a vision for you you want to be as a person; and what you want your life to be like in those specific areas.

It’s a wonderfully exciting thing to do, because once you have written down something for each area, you’d will begin to have visions and pictures and ideas in your head of what those things are going to be like. My clients often get rushes of energy and inspiration when we touch on their vision for the year; because as long as you are putting the effort in, and you now know where you want to go, chances are that you are A LOT more likely to get there.

And the best part is, it can adapt and change with the year, no matter what happens, as it’s your vision for your life: no one can take it from you.

Step 3 – know how to feed your vision

So you’ve defined your values and who you are and how you want to be.

You have also set out the vision for your life in the 4-6 areas and are feeling excited.

Now it’s just a matter of taking action, right? Yes, but not quite.

This is the moment when my clients love to plan out their actions and what they are going to do to make their vision real in their life: smart goals, deadlines, changes, improvements etc etc. And it is true that taking the focussed action, consistently, will move your vision forward and make it more and more real.

But there’s one thing that you might miss out, and a lot of people do, which is just as important. And that’s to feed your vision.

When I do these vision sessions with people and they talk about it, it’s is incredibly exciting for them: how they are going to be, to feel, the benefits for their whole family, it is wonderful! But afterwards, it can be very easy to get caught up in every day life and leave the vision as just words and pictures on a piece of paper. And then they could lose sight of the vision, begin to forget it and stop taking the actions to make it real.

So I always tell them this,

you need to feed your vision!

You need to consistently keep it in your mind, keep getting excited about it, talk about, keep it alive. Think of it like a language – if it is not spoken, it becomes dead.

So here are 4 ways to keep feeding your vision so that it becomes a real, integral, living breathing, experiential part of your life:

  1. Look at pictures that stimulate where you are going, what you will be achieving, who you are becoming. These can be pictures of places, your ideal body, sales targets, emotions you would like to feel etc etc.
  2. Take time, at least once a week (Sundays are a good day for this) to step into your vision and day dream about it. Walk around, see it as it will be, and imagine how good it will feel. This is a wonderful way to experience and motivate yourself with what is to come for you.
  3. Speak to someone you trust regularly, every week, about it. Talk about the vision as if it is really happening. Make plans, get them to ask you questions about it. Allow this real life experience with another person to feed and expand your vision.
  4. Finally, recognise that on the days when you can’t see it, and don’t believe your vision is really becoming real- it still is. It’s like the sun on rainy days, it is still there, just waiting to re emerge. Your vision is the same. If you have a bad day or moment or experience, that does not mean your vision is gone. Sometimes, it can be becoming more real, through the actions of others who may be helping you, when you are not actively even doing anything. That’s an exciting thought!

Going forward into the best days of your life

The best days of your life are truly ahead of you. If you are open to that being true for you, then it can happen for you.

Thinking of it like keeping a door open. As long as the door is even slightly open in your mind, then wonderful opportunities, people and possibilities can come through.

Take the time to

Know your values
Look at your vision
Nourish your vision regularly

And the best moments of your life for you, your team, your family and your business are on the way to you….it’s just a matter of time.

Go make that vision real!

And enjoy the journey…

Best wishes


How to keep in touch with Kataholos:

 

Vision is exciting. Vision gets you out of bed in the morning, vision brings vitality into your life!

If assets fuel your business… Then vision fuels your life…

If you are in a leadership position – as a director, manager, team leader, parent or teacher – having a vision is an essential aspect for you. But what does that actually mean? Is it how you think about and what you see in your future? Is it what you want for your business or team?

A lot of people I have spoken to recently have struggled with this, as COVID has massively altered not only how they live their lives, but perhaps more importantly, how they saw it. Perhaps you can relate to that?

I’d like to suggest a way forward over this 2 part series for you to help you with your vision this year and then provide some ideas of how to communicate it with your people so that they get it, they see it, and they are with you all the way.

There is something in you that just won’t let go if you’re in a leadership position. It might be a deep belief, something you want to achieve, a particular way of doing things. You didn’t ask for it, or perhaps you did and worked really hard to refine it: whatever it is, it’s a part of you now. Hold onto that, we will come back to it later to help you with your vision.

You will hear all sorts of people talking at the moment about setting goals, measuring metrics, having vision boards, training staff, investing in health and wellbeing… and these are all great. However, before all those things, must come vision.

But what do you do if you don’t have a vision for this year yet? Or what if your confidence has taken a knock and you doubt where you can go and what you can achieve?

Don’t worry, it’s very simple.

To create a vision, you must be open and willing or be able to see, so here are two concepts to use to help you.

Eye sight – seeing things as they are: it is raining, I am sat on a chair, there is a candle in the room. This is the physical act of seeing and then holding the objects in our perception

Mind sight – this is where you focus on what the objects could mean, what they could be used for, what is beyond them, deeper ideas and feelings and how they can be manipulated and changed

I first learned this concepts from the wonderful motivational speaker Les Brown, make sure to check him out – he is amazing!

Here’s an exercise to try out to see if you are currently operating from primarily your eye sight (what you see) or your mind sight (what it could mean for you) at the moment.

Go and find a cup and hold it.
What could you fill it with?

If you think straight away of what you normally fill it with – tea, coffee etc.; then that’s you thinking with your eye sight, the regular, every day options.

have you thought of ideas such as:

  • Fill it full of diamonds!
  • It’s the empty space that gives it value…
  • It can be filled with whatever I want…

Then you are operating more from your mindset – which is a place of possibilities and open mindedness. This is not just where the best ideas come from, more importantly, it’s where the best implication – how you do things – processes can come from.

It is so important at the moment that you cultivate and grow your ability to engage in mind sight thinking.

Here are the benefits of using mind sight thinking, which improves your ability to cultivate vision:

  • Opens you up to new possibilities
  • Creates more solutions
  • Taps into your true thinking potential
  • Can be used in a variety of contexts
  • Helps you feel empowered beyond current circumstances
  • Can help boost your hope and optimism
  • Can be a lot of fun!

And here are 3 exercises that you can do over the next few weeks to grow your ability to operate from your mind sight

1. The paperclip test

This comes from the wonderful teacher Ken Robinson, who conducted this study for the Royal Society of Medicine.

Find a paperclip and set a timer for 20 minutes. Write down as many uses as you can for using the paperclip.

This study demonstrated how we can shift from mind sight to eye sight thinking quite easily over time, and in doing so, limit our abilities to see solutions

Year 6 children (10 year old’s) came up with around 20 uses

Nursery and Reception children (4 year old’s) came up with over 200!

The younger children’s answers came from mind sight thinking, where they knew they could use it in anyway they wanted – from catching dinosaurs, to a giant version made out of chocolate!

How did you do? Don’t worry if you got less than 20, most adults do! Try it again. Then leave it a few days and repeat it with a different object.

2. Open ended questions

Open ended questions are great for stimulating deep, proper thought, which create visions and pictures in your mind. So pick a topic-health, business, your relationships etc. and ask yourself these questions. And just pay attention to the pictures, thoughts and feelings that come into your mind.

  • What is brilliant about this issue right now?
  • How will it look in 10 years?
  • (Don’t allow yourself to think “I don’t know…” really try with this)
  • Where is my joy in this area?
  • How am I helping others in this area?
  • Will I be proud of this and how I am doing when I am dying and looking back on my life?

These are not easy, quick questions. They are proves to stimulate and train the imaginative part of your brain, which allows you to see things- both what may happen and what it could mean to you – before they happen.

3. Fast and slow thinking

Ask yourself each week a few very challenging questions from this list (or add your own) The goal here is not to come up with solutions. The goal is to engage with your imagination, over a period of several days, to allow the slower, often deeper and more insightful, parts of your brain, to offer you visions and ideas.

  • How can we solve world hunger?
  • What would a fourth dimension feel like?
  • Should death be cancelled in the future and controlled my technology?
  • What would I do if my business was 10 times it’s current size?
  • Am I happy with both the person I currently am and the person I am becoming?

Would I want to live on Mars in the future if it was possible? Why or why not?

Before you can have a vision, you must cultivate the ability to see with your mind: beyond raining days, unhappy employees, complaints, tiredness and media hype.

If you practice these 3 techniques over the next few weeks, you will feel a shift from operating from eye sight, towards the deeper, more exciting and more worthwhile mind sight.

You may experience some amazing visions, images, pictures and moments of insight over the next few weeks as you do the exercises.

Make sure to capture them! Write them down, draw pictures, make videos and models and keep them safe. If they have come from the visionary deeper part of you, they are real treasures of high value.

Remember…

Assets fuel your business… Vision fuels your life!

Enjoy the process of cultivating your vision skills, they will be needed in 2021.

Part 2 will help you to take your new visionary abilities and apply them to craft a vision for 2021 that is compelling, exciting and great for all concerned.

It will be with you very soon

Best wishes


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  • Develop your leaders?
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