What are you regenerating in 2010?

15 01 2010

“Ideas are the mightiest influence on Earth. One great thought breathed into a man may regenerate him.”

(William Ellery Channing)

January 1st of this year did not only see the start of 2010 but also the regeneration in the BBC’s family drama “Doctor Who” as the tenth doctor transformed into a new eleventh doctor. 

(For those not familiar with the show, the lead character is part of a race who can “regenerate” and change every cell in their body when the death of one body is inevitable.)

Part of the dictionary definition of regeneration is:

“give new life or vigour to. “

 The new year is one of the times when people resolve that they will do something different. It’s also not at all unusual for a new years resolution to have a familiar ring to it as it is the same thing you decided upon last year, the year before or even the year before that! 

This week, I thought I’d share a few thoughts to regenerate how you may want to play with resolutions and goals in general. If the way that you are currently playing/working with a goal/new years resolution is working for you than of course keep using them. This is just here to give a boost and some more vigour if needed :) 

* Get clear on what the end result is that you want, it will really help if this end result is something that when you think of it, it’s really something you actually genuinely want. Notice as you think of it, how you are imagining that – often being able to give a multi-sensory description can really make the outcome come to life for you.. For example, imagining what you will, see, hear, feel etc.

You’ll probably find that the motivation to take the next step is much easier if the outcome is something that you genuinely want. Perhaps reminding yourself at regular intervals of why you are doing something will make completing that easier.

* One of the easiest way I know to give something new life or vigour is to find ways to make the task or exercise fun. Perhaps that will mean filing paper work while singing along to your favourite music tracks. Maybe if your goal is to start doing exercise then you’d find a dance class more fun than going to the gym.

* Making a decision to make an actual commitment about your goal or resolution can also regenerate the action that you are taking towards a goal. That commitment can be specific to your goal ie if your goal is to complete a book, making a commitment to writing for 30 minutes a day (even if complete nonsense) will move you much closer to your goal. Perhaps it is a more general commitment such as committing to finding fun ways to keep moving forward that will make the difference for you.

 * Another form of commitment is to share your goal and new years resolution with others. Absolute radio’s breakfast DJ Christian O’Connell was inviting his listeners to share their goal for this year earlier this week. He was also offering to follow up with the callers throughout the year to see how they were progressing – if you haven’t already shared your goal, what would you do different if you knew someone would possibly ask you about your progress?

* Accountability can make a huge difference. I may be biased, as coaching is part of the service I offer, but one of my favourite ways to do that is to work with someone like a coach – somebody who I choose to be accountable towards. It’s amazing the amount of progress I can make leading up to my next coaching session. ;)

* Another form of accountability is action buddies – by agreeing with someone to be in regular contact and to just report what you have done and what you are going to do can make a big difference to your productivity. The time period that you choose is up to you. Personally, on the action calls I offer in certain packages I find that chunks of 1 hour is perfect as it allows progress to be made, yet is small enough to be easily do-able. NB: If you are doing this with a friend than you may find that you have to be strict about just discussing what you have done and what you are going to do, otherwise you can end up with several long chats and no progress forward!

There are many different ways of giving new life and vigour to a goal or new years resolution, often it’s just doing something differently. If what you were doing wasn’t working find a new way of getting to where you want to be. While I know that some people favour beating themselves up if what they try first doesn’t work, personally I suggest that you congratulate yourself on noticing and doing something different instead.

The above are just a few ideas to get you started. This week I invite you to play with the following designed to give any goals or new years resolutions a boost. 

What could you do to give a new lease of life to a goal or new years resolution?

Grab a pen and paper and spend a couple of minutes writing down any and all ideas that come into your head for that question.

When you have finished re-read your list and decide if you want to choose to do any of them.

Have a wonderful week full of new life and vigour where needed.




The Rules of the Game

20 05 2009

“My Life is my message”

(Mahatma Gandhi, in response to journalists questioning about his message to the world)

As I sat down to start writing this weeks message 2 Tabby cats arrived to tell me that it had been thundering and I should be admiring them.

Now, these are 2 cats who do share (or should that be rule) the house so I perhaps shouldn’t be surprised. Though I was slightly bemused by the connection between thunder and me admiring them. (In retrospect it may have been more “I’m awake therefore you should be admiring me!”)

While obviously paying them attention, it reminded me of the expectations and rules that we often live by and impose upon ourselves.

The stories that we tell ourselves about why something has happened, or we have done something. The thing is it may seem perfectly natural and obvious for that story to be true – Ask my cats, its perfectly obvious to them that I should be spending time admiring them.

One of the exercises I occasionally do in smaller group trainings involve a lot of ping-pong balls and a bucket. The instructions I give is that they are not allowed to move from where they are sat (or throw the balls until after I had given the instructions and moved – something I added after the first time I ran the game :) ) The aim is simply to get as many balls into the bucket.

Depending upon the group we will have a range of success of getting some balls in the bucket but there is always some that do not end up in the bucket. When I ask the reasons why there wasn’t 100% success rate I would get a variety of reasons including:
overarm vs underarm techniques
Lack of practice
thrown from too far away
the bucket blended into the background so it was difficult to aim
and there was always some gush of wind from air conditioning or an open window to blow the light balls of target :)

I’ve done this game with hundreds of people and the list always included things that were under the direct control of the participants and things that were not. For example, I told the group that one of the rules was that they could not move, so how close they were throwing from was not in their direct control.

They did, for example, have control over the technique they chose – either over or under arm and to notice the ones that worked for them in that situation.

The thing that became obvious to me is that, when working with teams who’s performance I knew about, the ones who focused more on the things that were in their control were the ones who got less stressed when change happened. For example, in a business context new legal regulations being introduced were outside of the individuals direct control. The individuals and teams who coped the best with such change were the ones who accepted it and worked with them. The ones who focused more on what was outside of their control got far more stressed. It was as if they kept trying to run through a brick wall and were surprised when they came to a sudden stop.

The other interesting thing to note is that although some thought of the idea after, not one group has ever thought to pass the balls to the member who is closest or the most accurate thrower. So many thought that even without the instruction being given that they have to do everything themselves.

My sister often accuses me of cheating if I cross something off my to do list that I haven’t actually done myself. She seems to think that the important thing is doing it herself. I happen to think that the important thing is that it gets done. If someone else can do it better than I can, or enjoys it more so I can spend my time doing other things then even better.

At this stage each week I invite you to play with some exercise or experiment. This week I do the same and literally invite you to make it into a game.

If there is something in your life where you think you are stuck I invite you to play with this, otherwise you could always use your entire life.

As always the key words here is play and being lighthearted. If there is something that you feel you need extra support with then do go ask for help with that.

If you were going to teach someone else to play this situation or your life what would the rules be? If it helps you may want to write these rules down.

To help identify these rules use these questions as a basis:

What should they do?

What must they do?

What have they got to do?

Are there any secret rules that only you know about?

How do you know when to feel stuck?
Is there anything to do with the environment that you need to see, hear, feel, smell etc?
(For example, I once had someone say that the times when they felt stuck in their job was when they smelt egg sandwiches in the staff room!)

What skills/capabilities do you need to play this game? Are there any that you can’t have?

Does a player have to play this game using any particular behaviours?

What else is important for others to know about this so that they can play? Anything that they need to believe or things they need to value?

Is there a particular label or identity that the player has in this game? If so are there any rules connected with that?

When you have all the rules have a read through. You may notice that some are in your control and some are not.

You may notice that some are not useful or you may just want to laugh at.

Like the person with the smell of egg sandwiches, there may be things on there that are a complete surprise that are important to the rules as you were playing the game.

Remember we are only playing and if you wanted you could always change the rules to make it a different game.

You may be happy to leave some there “just because”.

Who or what do you know that could make playing this game easier?
Who or what do you know that could make playing this game more fun?

A Bonus, extra part, to play with:
This can be particularly powerful so do allow yourself to be gentle when playing with this bit.

The label you use for this is entirely up to you as its potentially unique for each person. Some people like to call it their inner knowing, wisdom or spirit. Others like to call this a higher power or being, some like to think of it as God. Use what ever works for you and take a moment to do whatever you know or need to do to connect with that.

Once you are connected notice what extra insights you get for the rules of this game.
What’s important to notice?
What’s not important?
When you have become aware of everything to be aware of with this you may want to say thank you and bring that knowledge back to where you are now.

Have a fantastically playful week



Fun and Adaptation Audio Available Now

29 04 2009

media player buttons

If you prefer to listen to yesterdays “Fun and Adaptation” message then you click HERE and then press play.


Fun and Adaptation

28 04 2009

Did you read about Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation? The film receives its UK cinema premiere at a Charity screening this evening (Tuesday) in London’s Leicester Square.

Eric Zala and Chris Strompolos, spent 7 years of their childhood creating their film, starting filming at the age of 10 and 11 during their school holidays. Faithfully recreating scene by scene the Stephen Spielberg’s original movie. The boys enlisted friends during the summer months to lovingly create each shot.

Spielberg himself has described their adaptation as a “loving and detailed tribute to his film”. Where the only shot that defeated them was blowing up a plane, every other one made it into the film.

Over 25 years since their filming, the consequences has resulted in a dream-come-true-meeting with Stephen Spielberg and their film becoming a cult classic. Yet as Chris Stompolos who plays the hero Indy says, at the time it just “seemed like a really fun idea.”

This week I invite you to add a bit more fun into what you are doing (OK, if you are really daring, a lot of fun)

Apart from being a far more pleasant experience, adding fun into what you are doing can really help with motivation.

Especially if its what seems like a mundane task, what would make it more fun?

For example, do you have a pile of ironing or paperwork you’ve been putting off while it takes on its own life form in the corner? If so what would make it more fun? Maybe, doing that while watching you’re favourite movie on DVD?

Possibly its by setting yourself only a set amount of time on the task before moving onto something else – or is it a reward for when its completed?

Perhaps, like the 2 boys did all those years ago, it’s about involving others?

I’d love to hear about how you play with this, who knows where it may lead …

Have a fun week



PS I’m looking forward to having a fun week in London in May assisting on Michael Neill’s Coaching Mastery and The Secret to Effortless Success events.

Visit www.coachingmastery.co.uk and www.effortless-success.co.uk full details. If you are coming to both or either event do come up and say hello.


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