Try To See Things My Way

Try To See Things My Way

We Can Work It Out / The Beatles (Lennon/McCartney)

McCartney sees things differently. He has something else in mind. He has looked at the situation and has seen that there could be another way.

Fair enough.

I was working with a group the other week and we were talking about increasing our performance and the performance of those around us.

I suggested that, if we wanted to access more useful behaviour, we might want to look at the sources of those behaviours.

We could examine our thoughts and wonder what is making us think that way; what triggers, habits and memorie are causing us to act out our thoughts.

We could also reflect on our feelings and consider what it is that makes us feel like we do (toward work or other people for example) and how that might colour our behaviour.

Lastly, I wondered out loud about digging down to our beliefs and think how they may be helping (or not helping) our behaviours and choices.

Intellectually, at least, my group got it. They could see how this might be possible.

“But be realistic”, said another, “You’re not living in the real world if you think we can change our behaviour in real time based on those other emotions”.

Maybe The Beatles weren’t real people too. Maybe someone should have told them to be realistic.

“I’m looking for affection and respect – a little passion; and you want stimulation”

“I’m looking for affection and respect – a little passion; and you want stimulation”

Woman of Heart and Mind / Joni Mitchell (Mitchell)

It’s hard to give people what they want when you don’t know why they signed up.

Or maybe they never signed up in the first place? Without mangling this metaphor too far from its original meaning, I’d like to look at it in terms of Training.

In my experience, the justification for a training need is usually to enhance Performance. With enhanced performance comes increased profit, or smaller losses, or less waste or larger market share and hence satisfaction for stakeholders.

Through the lens of HR this can be reframed as greater engagement or empowerment or buy in – love your Job and show passion toward the Company.

So, what do delegates want when they turn up on the day? Stimulation!

Make me smile, make me laugh, send me away motivated – make my day!

Some will talk about takeaways – give me something I can eat on the way home.

Using either my metaphor or Joni’s meaning, surely the way ahead is to understand and respect what the other party is looking for; to get why the need has arisen and over what timescale? HR people tell me their 1:1’s happen often enough for this to be a pushover.

As a trainer of 20 years’ experience, I get 8/10 feedback for one of 3 reasons;

  1. I’m hitting the espoused outcomes and not the expectations in the room
  2. I’m hitting the delegates’ needs but not proving bottom-line impact
  3. I’m only an 80% trainer – 20% worse than the previous guy

Assuming its not (c), what’s the answer?

Maybe HR and/or Operational Management could ask their employees what they really need? Perhaps 1:1 and Employee Satisfaction Survey feedback, could be taken literally and seriously. When people say they are stressed out or unhappy at work we could look at addressing that point rather than throwing bribes and targets at the issue or topping up skills where mindset change is required.

Training should not take place at behavioural level but should operate more deeply with feelings or even beliefs.

As Mark Knopfler wrote in Junkie Doll, “You spiked my arm, but you missed the vein”

A Square With A Horn Makes You Wish You Weren’t Born Every Time He Plays

A Square With A Horn Makes You Wish You Weren’t Born Every Time He Plays

Everybody Wants To Be A Cat / The Aristocats (Rinker/Huddleston)


Don’t you just know it? Here you are trying to enjoy life when you bump into someone who seems hell bent on bringing you down.

In fact, they seem to want to bring everybody to their level of misery and despair. They love nothing more than spoiling your plans, finding fault, telling you that your ideas will come to nothing and so on.

They also like to recruit people into their gang so that there are more and more people who think negatively about life; this way they don’t feel alone when they are blowing off about their nightmare world.

These aren’t bad people by the way – they’re just stuck. Stuck playing the same tune on their broken horn. These squares have been playing the same tune so long that they are stuck in the habit of living life that way.


In fairness to The Squares, they will say that negativity and being generally hacked off is normal. They will tell you that you should stop living in a dream world and start being Normal.

Don’t do it, Don’t be Normal. Don’t live a life that is not extraordinary. You owe it to yourself to be to the most positive, full on, high octane version of you imaginable. You weren’t put on this earth to be Average or Normal!


Still think I’m wrong? Look up the etymology of the word Normal. It is derived from the Latin word “normalis” which means “as determined by a Carpenter’s Square; conforming to the Rule”. Correct, reliable, ubiquitous – but boring. Square in fact.

You Get Lighter The More It Gets Dark

You Get Lighter The More It Gets Dark

Sky Full Of Stars / Coldplay (Buckland/Champion/Berryman/Bergling/Martin)


The next time there is no moon in the sky and there is little or no cloud cover (the next “new moon” is in 2 days where I live), get out at night and go as far away from light source as you can.

Don’t turn on a torch/flashlight and resist the urge to consult your phone. I’d like your eyes to get used to the dark.

When you have found somewhere comfortable to stand, sit or even lie down, I’d like you to look up at the stars. This is not about finding shapes or constellations but just look at the stars.

Now look at the sky. The darkness between the stars. Which one outplays the other? In terms of space, area it’s the darkness. The stars take up a tiny amount of space versus the night sky; you’d be pushing it to say its 1-2%.

Now look down at your hand. Can you see it? Is there enough light from just those stars to make sense of things?

When you return home, turn on the TV news or find a newspaper. What percentage of the news is good news? When you go to school or work the next day, what percentage of people you meet are uplifting, motivational and sharing their light?

It’s a daft metaphor but it works for me. The world, just like the night sky is 98% darkness, but 2% of the ‘stars’ in the world you light up the place. You could join them – it’s free. We can ‘get by’ with just 2% of people being stars but think how great it would be if a few more stepped up.

Be a Star.

I Just Found Out There’s No Such Thing As The Real World

I Just Found Out There’s No Such Thing As The Real World

No Such Thing / John Mayer (Mayer/Cook)


I just love it when I’m running one of my Mojo sessions and I start to notice a grudging approval that I might be on to something. Here I am, suggesting that people can choose to be more positive in their outlook and that this simple change may have a huge effect on them AND the people around them. What Horlicks!


At least that’s the attitude from one or two people in the room.

In a big audience of (say) 100 people – they will pull a “I disagree” face, but not actually say anything.


In an audience of 50 people you may catch a glance of someone checking the facts out with their neighbour. I imagine the script is running something like this;

“What’s this guy on? He’s suggesting that we can change our own approach to our lives and that by thinking differently we can get a different outcome. Are you going to sit there and buy this stuff?!” Depending on the neighbour’s reaction we may have 2 dissenters in the room. No problem.


In an audience of (say) 20 people – a person may actually “out” their thoughts;

“You’re not living in the Real World, Nigel. What you’re saying is totally unrealistic”


What is the Real World? As John Mayer says in this song; “It’s just a lie you have to rise above”.

What people are describing is their Real World. Their experiences, their mistakes, their thoughts and outcomes and the way life has unfolded for them. At least, the bits that they want to relate to you. People tend to want to tell you about the unfairness of it all and how you have to struggle and fight to get anything to go your way. It’s as if any sort of happiness or “lucky breaks” should be buried deep because maybe no-one deserves to have that kind of life.

Mayer wonders whether parents ever wished for anything better than their reality and so then they warn you to “stay inside the lines” – just like they did.


And what’s realistic mean anyway? It means life-LIKE. Resembling something that is real.

Just like a Soap Opera could be realistic. Plastic surgery could be realistic. A Fake Tan could be realistic.


Your outlook on life is what you want it to be. Don’t you just love critics?

I Hope My Premonition Misses

I Hope My Premonition Misses

Lately / Stevie Wonder (Wonder)


It won’t.

9 times out of 10, what we strongly feel will happen… is what shows up.


Etymologically speaking, the word is from the Latin where prae means prior and monare means warning – a prior warning.

But what is this Prior Warning based on? Is it from scripture or some form of ancient writings? No, worse than that; it’s your scripture – your truth.

Based on all the things you’ve experienced, what you’ve read or been told, what happened last time, what you feel you deserve (or don’t) based on your self-worth and your habitual way of thinking you can predict the outcome.

Just to break this down further, your “habitual way of thinking” includes;

  • Glass half full/half empty
  • Your sense of entitlement
  • Your invisible rules e.g. “this always happens to me”
  • Crappy self-talk e.g. “I’m an idiot”
  • Ability to choose the negative from any situation when the positive is equally available
  • Poor-Little-Old-Me thinking


As I’ve said many times in this blog, what we Believe informs our Feelings. What we strongly Feel drives our Thoughts and what we Think and Feel – the MEANING we add to occurrences, shapes our attitude, our mindset, our emotional state.

All of that Emotional Soup shows up in our behaviour and it’s very difficult to control at that level.

As Stevie Wonder says in the song, “But what I really feel, my eyes won’t let me hide. (Be)cause they always start to cry”

As someone once said, “Hope is not a strategy”, so instead of hoping that things will turn out how you want them, re-wire your premonitions by tracking back to your Beliefs level and ask yourself why you are holding this belief.

If the Belief you are holding is not getting you the outcome you want then CHANGE YOUR BELIEF.

At Seventeen I Learned The Truth

At Seventeen I Learned The Truth

At Seventeen / Janis Ian (Ian)


If only…

But you did know the truth but not the facts.

You knew your story but believed someone else’s.

You could have been a star in your own movie but couldn’t direct it.

Stories about being mixed up between teenage and adult are the thing of legend.

From Hamlet to Wuthering Heights to Catcher In The Rye and this one from my era “At Seventeen” in the 1970’s.


I learned the truth at seventeen
That love was meant for beauty queens
And high school girls with clear skinned smiles
Who married young and then retired


The Valentines I never knew
The Friday night charades of youth
Were spent on one more beautiful
At seventeen I learned the truth


And those of us with ravaged faces
Lacking in the social graces
Desperately remained at home
Inventing lovers on the phone

Who called to say “come dance with me”
And murmured vague obscenities
It isn’t all it seems, at seventeen

A brown eyed girl in hand me downs

Whose name I never could pronounce
Said: “pity please the ones who serve
They only get what they deserve”

The rich, relationed hometown queen

Marries into what she needs
With a guarantee of company
And haven for the elderly

So remember those who win the game

Lose the love they sought to gain
In debitures of quality and dubious integrity
Their small-town eyes will gape at you
In dull surprise when payment due exceeds accounts received

At seventeen

To those of us who knew the pain
Of Valentines that never came
And those whose names were never called

When choosing sides for basketball

It was long ago and far away
The world was younger than today
When dreams were all they gave for free

To ugly duckling girls like me…

We all play the game, and when we dare
We cheat ourselves at solitaire
Inventing lovers on the phone

Repenting other lives unknown
That call and say: “come on, dance with me”
And murmur vague obscenities
At ugly girls like me, at seventeen


© EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC


What we all needed At Seventeen, we already had; it’s just that we were too busy worrying about what others might think or say.

Arguably, Social Media has made the pressure worse and people are unable to access their own beauty because they are concerned about what others think. Little do they know that others are also too busy with exactly the same pursuit and hence their thoughts about you are much, much less significant than you believe.


It’s a pity that was not around at the time to help us through these wastelands lack of confidence and self-esteem.

Although as you can see from my photo, it didn’t bother me because I was already stultifyingly handsome…

It’s A Nice Day To Start Again

It’s A Nice Day To Start Again

White Wedding/ Billy Idol (Idol)


Have you ever done any of the following?


  1. Failed at something?
  2. Let somebody down?
  3. Missed an opportunity?
  4. Created a bad name for yourself?
  5. Given in?
  6. Fell out of love with someone or something?
  7. Decided you were too old (or young)?
  8. Forgot to say thank-you?
  9. Figured your life was going nowhere?
  10. Lost faith in yourself?

If so, then today would be a nice day to file that day under “History” and make a new start.

Forgive yourself on this occasion and repeat as necessary.

England Where My Heart Lies

England Where My Heart Lies

Kathy’s Song/ Simon & Garfunkel (Simon)


It won’t have escaped many in the last few weeks that some people have been taking Football pretty seriously. And Tennis, and F1, and Cycling. And in a couple of weeks, Golf.

But the thing about the footy is that England have done pretty well and that, according to most sources, it has made the country proud again.

Proud of its team, proud of its flag, proud of its manager; (couldn’t you just use some of that at work?) – but most of all, proud of ourselves.

And yet we’ve not really done anything except show our support.


So, the thing that has produced this pride and energy (good and bad at times) has been Passion. A love for football, for the country, for the sport, for the movement.


Forget football. What are you passionate about?

If a simple game can produce this much energy, then why not analyse your own energy source? What gets you out of bed in a morning, what keeps you going/interested long after others thinks it is time you called it a day? What subject do you hope is going to come up in the workplace or bar so that you can fully take part?


And how do you feel when you’re doing that thing? I’m willing to guess that you do it willingly, and with full concentration. You might take notes or read more about it or seek out people who ae better than you to get advice. Time flies when you’re engaged in it. You want to teach others how to do it too.


There will be naysayers and haters; don’t listen to them. Enjoy what you do, immerse yourself in what you love and even do it for a living if you can. Pass on your passion and energy to others – they will realise it’s good to enjoy the good times.


“We might live in a time where sometimes it’s easier to be negative than positive, or to divide than to unite, but England: let’s keep this unity alive. I Love You.”

Kyle Walker, Sheffield, England

Life Is Hard, I Need A Remedy

Life Is Hard, I Need A Remedy

Jam Side Down / Status Quo (Dore/Britten)


On a recent campervan trip, I was despatched to prepare a quick breakfast on the penultimate day. I was tired from being on the road and lack of quality sleep but that’s no excuse for dropping the eggs. Halfway through preparing scrambled eggs, gravity got the best of me and the pan hit the floor – Jam Side Down!


I doubt that the outcome would have been much different even if the pan would have landed the right way up but there was a long(ish) silence, a moment of disbelief, an expletive and then… a remedy.


My two camping partners came and observed the reason for the commotion and then sprang into action;

First – a photo (obvs)

Second – help in clearing up the mess

Third – words of stoic never-mindness


Stuff happens – we all make mistakes and Life is Hard. But we don’t always need a remedy.

Don’t get me wrong, I was really grateful for the remedy and it struck me that it’s what I’ve been wrongly providing all my life to other people; as a manager, as a leader, as a husband and as a father.  A remedy clears up the situation. It makes (me/us) feel good and that we’ve contributed. But it doesn’t make the other person more resourceful…


In order to be resourceful and to be the optimum version of ourselves, we really need three things:-

  1. Self-forgiveness
  2. A resourceful mindset
  3. A response which gives us a positive outcome