8 tips to fuel your leadership by improving your mindset

Each tip takes 7 minutes or less to do

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Perhaps you remember my recent blog about Bill Lear and Learjet (why not check it out if you haven’t read it yet?).

Having debuted his pioneering invention, he quickly ran into problems. Instead of becoming discouraged, he worked to overcome them and became hugely successful. He always knew his business could be a success, and that belief fuelled his actions.

Our mindset is powerful – the things we believe have a direct impact on the things we do. That’s why the best leaders have the best mindset.


How to use three tenses to achieve a better mindset

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In a classic episode of The Simpsons, the family plan to travel on a plane for the first time. However, Marge has never told anyone that she’s deeply afraid of flying. After some convincing she visits a therapist, when it’s discovered that the root of her fear was finding out that her father, rather than being a pilot as he’d claimed, was an airline steward. She had considered it a role reserved for women, but when the therapist reassures her male flight attendants are now very common and her Dad would have been something of a pioneer, she’s able to change her mindset and get on the plane.


The one forgotten piece of the puzzle that will supercharge your personal performance

It’s free, almost everyone has one, and you carry it around with you all the time

It sounded like a very bad idea, but something in me wanted to do it.

I was coaching in Austria with my friends Phil and Lutz. We decided to cycle from Kitzbühel all the way up the Kitzbüler horn, an Alpine peak that involves an additional 1,000m of elevation above Kitzbühel, gained in just 7km of road. Phil and Lutz were cycling nuts; I was a definite amateur. And to make the whole thing even more challenging, we agreed to meet at 5.30am so that we could be back at the hotel in time for breakfast!


8 tips to help you achieve more by improving your mental focus

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Ever get distracted by an email at the very moment you were settling down to concentrate on an important task? Ever lose focus on your husband/wife/partner precisely when they needed you most? Ever feel overwhelmed and lacking ability to direct your attention purposefully at one thing at a time?

Join the club. Achieving consistent mental focus is a battle I have been fighting for years. And I have helped hundreds of clients win this battle too.

Read on for 8 tips to get you started.


Book Review – “Flow: The Classic Work on how to Achieve Happiness” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

How to improve the quality of your mental focus

What do ballet dancers, chess players and rock climbers have in common? According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the author of Flow, it is that their enjoyment comes not from the sense of being in control, but the sense of exercising control in difficult situations. The author applies this insight to everyday life, aiming to describe the inner experiences that make life worthwhile.

Image credit: John Cairns | johncairns.co.uk

Why you need this book

Sometimes when I immerse myself in what I’m doing and push myself, I lose track of time and really enjoy the task at hand. Before I read this book I never really knew why. Flow helped something drop into place, looking at why I find myself at my most creative in those moments. It seems I’m not the only one either – I had to fight to read it, because so many people were asking me to borrow it when they saw the title and tagline.


How the Philadelphia Chickens and Chopin’s Ballade No. 1 in G Minor improved my mental focus

Three signals that you are in mental flow

Have you ever known peak mental focus? By ‘peak’, I mean focus so good that what you have done has been stellar, highly enjoyable and refreshing? On the occasions when I have known this, there were three signals present. In this post, I explain each signal and invite you to explore how you can cultivate this more in your own life.

Just occasionally when thinking about writing a strategic document for a client, I have an incredibly productive car journey. I can’t take notes. I don’t have a secretary to dictate things to. I can’t look at a screen. But if the conditions are right, my mind goes into overdrive.


The forest man

This guest post tells the moving and inspiring story of Jadav Payeng, the “Forest Man”. Brian Draper  – my good friend and author on spiritual intelligence – wrote this post, which forms part of his current Lent 40 reflective email series. Enjoy!

Forest man

Life can seem so overwhelming – as if there’s so much to do, or to change – that we end up doing nothing. So here’s a wonderful source of inspiration from a man called Jadav Payeng, who’s also known as ‘the forest man of India’.


How to use your beliefs to fuel productivity

beliefs fuel productivity

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“A belief is not merely an idea the mind possesses; it is an idea that possesses the mind.” – Robert Oxton Bolton

Ever felt that your negative view of someone else was holding you back from succeeding?

I was once coaching someone (let’s call him Larry) who hated his colleague (let’s call him Peter). This was not a case of mild dislike or professional distance; Larry couldn’t find anything positive to say about Peter. He genuinely believed that Peter’s every action towards him was intentionally malicious and this was affecting Larry’s focus at work, especially his performance in team meetings alongside Peter.  Not just that, Larry’s sleep quality, sleep quantity and mood had nose-dived. Larry was wasting time and energy fretting about what to do about Peter.


Getting over “If it hurts, hide it”

3 ways to handle emotionally difficult situations well

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Years ago, when I worked as a management consultant, I remember getting some analysis wrong. Even worse than that, I managed to get it wrong in a way that put a colleague in a bad light.

He stormed into the room where I was working, demanding to know why I had done it. I felt hurt, but in the words of Cowboy Logic by Michael Martin Murphy, I thought ‘if it hurts, hide it’.

So I hit back. “That’s rigorous work”, I said. And as soon as the words came out of my mouth, I could sense my colleague’s anger increase.

Of course in hindsight, I should have said, “I’m sorry, I made a mistake, I feel awful about this, what can I do?” But I didn’t. I just kept talking in my ‘I’m-an-intelligent-consultant’ way, and here was a colleague scrunching my chart in his hand, veins throbbing and almost shouting.

Suffice to say that my follow-up of “Well it just depends how you interpret the data” didn’t help.


Exercising and not feeling the benefits? Here’s why and 3 tips how to change

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“Whenever I feel like exercise, I lie down until the feeling passes.” – Robert Hutchins

Have you tried exercise and not found it ultimately beneficial? Many people end up feeling like Robert Hutchins in the quotation above, perhaps because they didn’t lose as much weight as they had hoped, or just found it boring, or didn’t notice any significant boost in their energy levels.

Exercise and weight loss have assumed almost mythic importance. Just look at the fads and celebrity diets that populate our image-crazed western culture. First, I’m going to dispel the biggest myth surrounding exercise, then I’m going to show you the real benefits of exercise, and give you some tips to use it to maximize not just your physical health, but your overall focus and energy too. If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this blog, it’s to remember that good exercise is about more than just exercise.