I learned about Leading from: my 50th birthday!

Antony

It finally happened. My forties were fast coming to an end and I faced the transition into my fifties.  Actually I felt quite proud about my last 10 years and was looking forward to the opportunities and experiences that the next 10 will bring.

As I sat in the summer of last year with an injured ankle and a growing belly, I was also conscious of a promise I had made myself a couple of years earlier….


When I started work back in 1991, having recently graduated from university, I was on an Initial Training Course (ITC) with many lovely people and one particular friend, Roger. Over the years I kept in touch with Roger and many years later we ended up living very close to each other. Roger is a little bit older than me and when he reached his 50th I was blown away by how much fitter and in better shape he was than when I knew him in his mid-20’s!  I told myself, and Roger, that this was what I was going to do also…but as I sat on the sunbed, with a non-working ankle I was worried that my dream was slipping away.

Not one to be deterred by extra hurdles, I spoke with a personal trainer I had met a few years earlier. Tom (the PT) now worked with his wife, Jess, a nutritionist, to give a more holistic programme to clients and had a very tailored approach to helping individuals attain their goals.  In addition to getting into my “best shape ever” I also needed to get my running back to enable me to complete the 2019 London Marathon in April-19; this seemed miles away when I could hardly walk on my ankle!

antony milesSo began a programme of 3-4 weight circuits each week together with some dietary direction and rehabilitation therapy on my leg injury.  Every week I would have a video-call with Tom and Jess and we would check progress on all fronts and discuss what was working and not, then I would get a revised programme for the following week.  And so it continued, week after week.

Finally in December I could take my first steps back running.  3 miles became 6 miles and soon into 2019 I was into 9, 10 and then 13 miles. The ankle was working and, more to the point, the work I had been doing in my home gym had given me strength and conditioning that made the transition back into distant running a relatively painless path.  I was delighted, things were falling into place.

But what about my other goal…the “best shape ever”?

Well there had been some great progress but I thought I might follow a concept I heard from Simon Woodroffe once (the creator of Yo! Sushi) to “Make Failure Painful”.  I booked myself in for a professional photoshoot to record the shape my body was in the day prior to my 50th. Now there was no turning back and I was focused on my goal.  Tom and Jess turned up the dial on my training and nutrition plan and the challenge was simply unreal on some days, but I could see the weights rising, the muscles becoming more defined and my body measurements falling in to line. Let me be honest with you, I did not become a monk in this time!  I still drank alcohol on occasion and had a rather “large” day out with some of my best mates just a couple of days before the shoot!

On the day of the photoshoot I was completely overwhelmed by the results.  I did not look like me, but it really was me.  I hadn’t had photos done like this before and I was delighted to confirm that indeed, if not the “best shape ever”, I was certainly in better shape than before our wedding 25 years ago and this was definitely a massive goal achieved.

So why the blog and where’s the learning?

I think I have always felt that anything is possible when we approach it with an open mind and belief, and I have never been disappointed with this approach personally nor with individuals and teams that I have worked with over the years.  With my experience of the last few months this belief has been further enhanced by 4 key steps that I know can help all of us achieve our ambitions and become that person that deep down we have always known is there and that is to P.L.A.N.  Let me explain…

P = Proud – a few years back I was taught that we can live life Have-Do-Be or Be-Do-Have.  If we live Have–Do–Be then we seek to HAVE things that enable us to DO things that help us BE something (eg proud, happy, excited etc).  The problem with this is by the time we get there we are after the next thing, then the next etc.  It’s like chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  When we turn this on its head and realise that how we are BE-ing in the moment is simply a choice, so we assume this state first, then DO the things we need to do to get the things we want to HAVE…then we are far more successful and enjoy the journey, every step.  Very early on in my journey I connected to my feeling of being proud of all I have achieved and proud of my body.  My goal was not to get into this state, I connected with this every day and then did what I needed to do to get what I wanted to HAVE…the best shape ever.

L = Leadership – there is so much personal leadership and having the right state of mind in this journey but I also got myself a coach (or two!) to lead me with their insights, expertise and daily encouragement.  I can honestly say that Tom and Jess kept me on track and motivated to continue through the hard times and the cold winter mornings.  They know their stuff, took a huge weight of effort looking into how to do this or that and gave me the information and instruction I needed on a daily basis to just follow and “do” in order to get the results I desired.  “A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so that you may become what you have always known you can be.” (Tom Landry)  Have you got a coach or mentor?

A = Accountability – there is only one person that could do this for me and that was ME!  No matter what anyone else said or did, at the end of the day, I had to get on and do it.  Accountability was obvious and I knew it.  No delegation.  No abdication and as my friend, and great coach, Andy Bailey says “there is no try! We either do or we don’t!”

N = Nail it!  You see the thing that strikes me is that both winners and losers have the same goals!  So what’s the difference and where do the different outcomes come from? In the book “Atomic Habits”, by James Clear, he proposes that the winners are much better at focusing on and carrying out the process to get there.  In other words, they stick to the plan.  They Nail it! Focus, effort and determination with no excuses.

…and that is what I have “Learned about Leading” from my 50th birthday experience.  The key to success with self and other is to PLAN:

    • P – connect with your “BE”
    • L – get yourself a coach or mentor (we have some great ones by the way, look here http://its-leadership.co.uk/its-us/)
    • A – embrace accountability
    • N – nail it with determination and dedication

…and the result…I thought you’d never ask…but some things we will keep to ourselves for now!! 😉

After all, iTS Leadership!

Warmly

Antony


PS: The aforementioned Jess and Tom would like to offer our readers a very special offer! For a complimentary 2-week introductory experience with Jess and Tom, email hello@jessntom.com with the code ‘iTS14’ and you will get a free taster of working with them. For further insights, look at www.jessntom.com 

What’s next?

With the new term now very much in full swing, the thoughts and attention of our kids (and some of us!) turn to “what next?”  My own kids are wondering what job they may wish to do when they leave university in the next couple of years and my youngest, what course he may like to study and at which university.  Several of my mentees are contemplating their next move on their career ladder with some thinking incremental and others radical steps.  That’s all good stuff and part of the ebb and flow of our life journey (and I love to help them get deep clarity with these situations).

However, I do find that so very often these times can be overwhelming and confusing.  We don’t know what we don’t know and we can fall into a cacophony of fear; fear of making a wrong choice, of getting it wrong, of the pain caused by bad decisions, about missing out on something better etc etc etc.

There are three things I know to be true:-

  1. Things are clearer with a calm mind– go for a walk and let the snow-globe of your mind settle and then take a look and see what you see now
  2. The view changes with each step we take– don’t focus too much on steps 5, 6 and 7 from here, rather just take the next one step that feels right to you, and the steps after that will reveal themselves
  3. Fear puts blinkers on our view– step out of fear and change your state of mind. Ask yourself these questions:-
    1. what if…
      …you could not fail?
      …you are exactly where you’re meant to be?
      …everything really DOES happen for a reason?
      …you are with the person you SHOULD be with RIGHT now?
      …you couldn’t make a “wrong” decision?
      …then….(if this IS the case)
    2. What would you change?
    3. What would you BE?
    4. What would you KNOW?
    5. What would you DO?

Get a quiet mind, then let your wisdom speak to you and write the answers down.

September is always a great time of year to think about the progress made on your journey and to get clarity on your new goals.  We love to help people get clear and focused and mentally ready to smash through their plans as effortlessly as possible.  So, whilst you are wondering “what next?” just remember this:

“Take the first step, no more, no less.
And the next will be revealed.”

After all, iTS Leadership! Give us a call if you’d like to chat.

Most warmly

Antony

The Greatest Gift

It’s true that the greatest gift we can give anyone is our total and utter presence, but how often is it that we manage to be totally present, even, or especially, with our nearest and dearest?


Being present is definitely an art more than a science, in my experience.  Yes, there are things we can do to point us in the right direction of presence, but I have found that it is a habit that takes practice.  With practice comes improvement, but I’m certainly nowhere near “mastery” as yet!

What does “fully present” look like?

There is probably, somewhere, an official list with a scientifically proven definition to answer this question, but these are my top tips from my own experience:-

    • Mind – we can only be “fully” present when we have a quiet mind. This is because thinking and listening are mutually exclusive; we simply cannot think and listen at the same time!  So ensure your mind is quiet and your thinking is still and allow yourself to hear what the other person is saying
    • Ears – they say we have 2 ears and only 1 mouth and we should use them in that proportion!I think to be a good listener we probably need more of a 7:3 ration than 2:1, and certainly, to be fully present, we need to listen with no opinion nor judgement and simply, and only, to listen to understand
    • Eyes – if you wish to be fully present then look at their eyes when they are speaking. Eyes are “the gateway to the soul” and even if you don’t hear every single word, you will understand what is being said
    • Mouth – be mindful of your breathing and keep it slow and peaceful. A great thing to do is to match their breathing when you first sit down and then gradually slow yours down then watch them come into sync’ with you.  As you slow yours and their breathing, the thinking will slow down and you can connect more deeply
    • Heart – appreciate them! I attended a conference a few years back when we had to sit knee to knee with a stranger in the audience, and whilst that person shared “what holds me back in business” we had to be silent, look at them, not think about what they were saying, but just think and feel about all the things we admired and appreciated about them whilst they spoke. Following this, we then had to summarise, very briefly, what we had heard…not the detail, but the over-riding message.  The results were fascinating: tears from the respondents and such insightful shares from those “not listening”
    • Hands – to be fully present it is best to be open to listen and hear from the other person.The more the rest of our body physically reflects this the better.  As such, as good posture is sat upright, with arms not folded and either resting in your lap or turned palms up on your thighs.  It is strange how this simple exercise can change our listening so much
    • Feet – finally, to build on the ideas above, try it with both feet on the floor.Typically, this helps us to be centred and thus promotes the calm mind and less judgement etc

This week why not test some of these ideas out.  I’m not suggesting that you manage all 7 at once, well, not on the first try!  But give them a go…at home with your kids, your partner and at work with your colleagues and team members.

Being present really is the greatest gift we can give anyone.  Who do you wish to give a present to this week.

After all, iTS Leadership!

Let me know how it goes.

Most warmly

Antony

The China Pot

We all have objects around our homes that have significance to us personally. This is one of mine and the story attached to it highlights the difficulty we can have as leaders in knowing if we have done the right thing.

This Royal Doulton china pot was given to me as a gift by a patient’s mother when I was working as a Hospital Play Specialist on a children’s ward in the 1980s. She wanted to express her thanks for the care I had given her daughter Dawn*, who was treated for bone cancer at The Middlesex Hospital. It was not unusual for any of us to receive a gift from parents who were grateful for the care given by the clinical staff though the gruelling year-long treatment, but this was exceptional. It arrived three years after Dawn had finished her chemotherapy and surgery.

The note that came with the present from Mrs Hughes* said that she had only recently understood from Dawn’s reflections on her time on the ward, how important the time spent playing, talking and learning with me in the ward playroom had been. Mrs Hughes wanted to acknowledge how I had helped Dawn develop some healthy approaches to cope well during all the difficulties she encountered and how this had meant she had adjusted successfully to life back at school after treatment finished. This small gift and its message illustrates a valuable point:  it can take a long time for the benefits of our work to be fully realised.

Whilst Dawn started benefitting from our care during her treatment, the long term outcome  of a healthy
adjustment to a major life event, such as a cancer diagnosis, is the ultimate goal in paediatric care. Yet we rarely get to know about the long term outcomes of much of what we do, whether it’s about the psychological health of our patients, or the impact we have on our customers, or the consequences of many of our decisions on our businesses in the long term. When the operating environment is as complex as it is now, the outcomes are harder than ever to predict and tougher to keep track of.

So how do you know that you are creating long term beneficial outcomes for your team and your clients? How might you get the feedback that will give you clarity on how you add real value? Looking at the china pot today I realise I have two ways that work well for me.

Values

The work of the hospital play specialist in the 70s and 80s had some research evidence base to support it, yet was largely founded on core principles, articulated by pioneering psychologists and paediatricians. In other words, we worked to a set of values that we believed were right for the child and her family’s health. I still do this. When the outcomes cannot be determined but a problem needs solving, I work from a set of business and professional values.

Feedback

I also seek out feedback from those less connected to my current world of work. Just as those three years had allowed Dawn and Mrs Hughes to see things more clearly, so the conversations with those I’ve worked with in the past, have brought insight and understanding into how I’ve added value and the longer term outcomes of my work with clients. Their reflections might not always be comfortable to hear, as honesty can bring surprises yet the looking back, can help guide the moving forward.

So what are your examples of the “china pot”, when you got to learn that you had made a difference long after the event?

What will help you know if you are doing the right thing?

~Author: Judy Walker, Senior Business Consultant

*not their real names

The art of “Effortless Success”

I recently heard the analogy of trying to play a lute or guitar with the strings too tight or too loose.  Imagine this, what would it sound like?  Likelihood is either there would be no sound at all or it would be strained and unpleasant and most certainly not musical or harmonious!

So it is with us and our effort for success in whatever we do.  If we try too hard we simply don’t get the right results and if we don’t try hard enough then we shall neither be successful.

How will you define success?

I was speaking with my eldest son this weekend about his up and coming round of golf.  He wanted to make sure he played as well as possible and wanted to focus on his ensured success.  “How will you define success?” I asked him.  His response was obviously that it was down to achieving the lowest score.  I challenged him what other measures of “success” there could be in such a game, especially when played with family and friends.  My point was, when we focus on maybe the fun and enjoyment of the game and focus less on getting the result, maybe we relax that little bit more and end up getting a better result and greater “success” – both in the score and in the enjoyment….a bit like the Profit and Smiles we aim to enhance in all our client work!!

In his writing and speaking, Michael Neill talks about “Effortless Success” – “Effortless”, in this instance, isn’t about an avoidance of physical work; it’s about an absence of mental struggle.  Looking at this, how often, when the pressure is on, do we try too hard and in working this way fail to see the creative solutions and obvious answers to our challenges right in front of our noses.

So, this Monday, with the task lists being created for the day ahead, my challenge for you all is…tighten your strings neither too loose nor too tight; get the balance right between good physical work and too much mental struggle.  Take yourself for a walk.  Have a chat to a colleague you don’t know that well.  Take “time out” and see what this actually does for your productivity. 

I know for me and most of my mentees that practice this, we find our productivity and success, and probably more importantly, our ENJOYMENT of the journey to our success is greatly enhanced.

Why not give it a go this week?

After all, iTS Leadership!

Most warmly

Antony

Progress from Overwhelm

Do you ever get overwhelmed with the amount of things you need to get done in a day or week?

I know I do!  Always trying to get the balance right between “the urgent” and “the important”.  I can get so frustrated at trying to balance everything that somehow, sometimes, all of that seems to paralyse me and even less gets done then there’s “even more” to do tomorrow! I am sure I am not alone in this?

Recently I (re)heard the story of the child on the beach throwing Starfish back into the sea. When an elderly man approached them and asked what they were doing, they responded that at the sun was rising and the tide heading out, the starfish would die if they weren’t in the sea. “But there are tens of thousands of them, you’ll never make a difference” said the old man.  At that, the child picks up another, throws it into the sea, looks at the man and says “I made a difference to THAT one!”  https://youtu.be/Q-R5LqE3nzY

I like this metaphor. When we have so much to do in each day and the task list seems endless, all we have to think about is making a difference to the next task…pick that Starfish up, throw it back into the sea and breathe life back into it.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” Lao Tzu

I have a question: how many “single steps” can you take today?  How many Starfish can you throw back into the sea?

When the whole picture looks overwhelming, let’s do one great thing at a time and rest assured that we are now further on our journey….after all, iTS Leadership!

Author: Antony Tinker

I learned about leading from: the emotional weather storm

What a glorious weekend!  I managed to get out in the garden and trim some bushes and even dig a tree out, and oh boy was that all hot work!  Worth the effort in the end though I am pleased to say.

Whilst doing this I did reflect on my last lot of gardening a couple of weekends ago.  The weather then was very changeable!  I started in shorts and a t-shirt, then had to find a jumper and then a rain coat!  A few minutes later the sun was out again and I was stripping off as now I was too hot.  10 mins later the rain coat was back on as the heavens opened once again!  You know the deal…our glorious English summer😊

What struck me during this episode was how my mood could change with the weather.  I think the rapid changes helped to emphasise this to me.  In the sun I was happy and smiling and enjoying the warmth on my back.  In the cold I was shivering and wishing I was somewhere else.  In the rain I was feeling a tad bewildered and wanting things to change quickly.  And with all this I remembered that in life, we don’t experience the weather, we only experience our thinking about the weather!  What a great metaphor the weather can be for the “emotional weather” that we experience every day from our thinking.


You see, when our mood is high and we see things in a wider context, then little seems to bother us.  We take everything in our stride.  The metaphorical sun is on our backs and we smile as we enjoy the warmth and light of the experience.  But within a second our attention can focus on another thought that takes us into a low mood.  As with the rain, we focus on all the negative aspects and wish we were somewhere else and hoping that things will change quickly, but sadly too often we forget that our experience can change in a second with a single change of thought.

The truth is that we all only ever live in the feeling of our thinking in any moment, not in the feeling of the world.  Our whole life experience is simply our reaction to our thinking of the moment, the thinking of the circumstances and the thinking of the people we are with.  We cannot change the thoughts that pop into our head, as we cannot change the weather we experience, but we can choose how much attention we give our thinking and that can literally change our world.

This summer, do enjoy the good weather and any breaks that we get from it!  If you wish to talk more about any of this then please do get in touch.  Our passion is to help everyone grow their “Profit and Smiles” and if you wish to do so then we would be delighted to talk.

After all, iTS Leadership!

Warmly

Antony

Finding our purpose: Part 3

Recently I have been having a lot of conversations with people about “Purpose”; their purpose, the organisational purpose and even the purpose for a meeting or project team.  I therefore thought a series of very short blogs on this subject could well be helpful for many of you.

This is part 3.  If you missed parts 1 and 2 then you can find them here:-

Finding our purpose: Part 1

Finding our purpose: Part 2

I find that one of the most powerful things in life is to find ones purpose.  Without a purpose we can drift from month to month and year to year, being blown by the metaphorical wind and tide of life with no focus on where we should be heading.  With a (strong) purpose we can weather most storms, show resilience, courage and an inner confidence that others find comforting and inspirational.

So the questions that come to mind are: what is a purpose, why is it so important and how do we find our own?  This is the third of three separate and short blogs over a couple of weeks.  I would love to hear your feedback as I can follow up with a further blog to address any questions, please email me at antony@its-leadership.co.uk


How do I find my Purpose?

That’s the obvious next question right!  I wish this was the easy bit but, in my experience, this is rarely the case.  I also don’t believe there is one answer that fits all, but there are some things I do know:-

  • You don’t have to spend 40 days and 40 nights on your own to find it
  • You won’t find it with a busy mind!  You must let the snow-globe of your mind settle and the best way to do this is to get away from your day to day surroundings…be that home or work.  Get out!  Go for a walk in an inspirational setting
  • A friend, coach or mentor can help you find it, by asking questions, remaining silent and reflecting back what they hear you say and not say
  • The following questions can also help to start the process:
    • what does the world expect from me?
    • what does the world deserve from me?
    • what would deeply upset or even anger me if it never happened?
    • what would I love my legacy to be?
    • what would I love my epitaph to be?
    • what do I REALLY want? (repeat this question 6 times and see where the journey takes you…the answers may surprise and delight you…oh, and have the Kleenex to hand!)

…and asking “why?” or “so what?” at least 4 times after each of the above is a sure-fire way to get clarity, and this is super helpful!

I was on a development programme at MIT in Boston last week, and one of the things they shared was that often in life we start to do “stuff” that is either needed or seems like a good idea and/or maybe some friends or colleagues are doing it.  Then, after a while, we get good at it after so much practice.  It’s then that we develop a PASSION for this as it gives us energy and plays to our strengths and then we discover that this is (aligned to) our PURPOSE.  As I mentioned before, I think we all have a purpose and it is within us to reveal, and as such, we naturally get attracted to the things that will serve that purpose.  So it’s always good to think about what things in life are you passionate about and ask why (ask this 5-6 times!).

The purpose of these blogs is not to be a definitive guide to finding your purpose, but I do hope they will serve as a stimulus to start your journey to find your own such that you can fulfil your full potential and create the transformations that you maybe have only dreamed about to date.

Our purpose as an organisation is “Creating the freedom to choose”. We understand that we all have a choice every day with what we say, what we do and what we focus on mentally and physically.  In doing so, we create our reality.  Understanding this and enabling others to see this creates the most amazing sense of freedom where each and every person can excel.  This is our dream and our passion.  It is our Purpose!

If you’re interested in learning more or finding help to find your purpose, as an individual, team or organisation then do give us a call or email me (antony@its-leadership.co.uk).

After all, iTS Leadership!

With love

Antony

Finding our purpose – Part 2

Recently I have been having a lot of conversations with people about “Purpose”; their purpose, the organisational purpose and even the purpose for a meeting or project team.  I therefore thought a series of very short blogs on this subject could well be helpful for many of you.  This is part 2.  If you missed part 1 then you can find it here:- Finding our purpose – Part 1


Thanks for all the lovely comments from the first blog.   There were a couple of more general questions in addition to confidential personal ones I have addressed with individuals.

Q: When is it best to “find our Purpose?” – to be honest, when we have a defined purpose our performance is always better as we have more confidence, clarity and resilience.  If we follow this train of thought then the best time is when you feel that you could do with more of these 3 characteristics in your life and/or business.

Q: How often should our purpose change? – this is a super question.  In my experience our purpose is like the diamond in the rock; it is always there and never changes.  I don’t believe we “create a purpose” it’s more that we “reveal it” by chipping away at the “rock” that get’s in the way of us seeing and connecting with it.  That said, there are different levels of clarity with which we see such diamonds, and over time we can “cut it” and “polish it” to become the most beautiful jewel in our life.  In summary “a purpose” is better than “no purpose” but the ideal is to reveal “the purpose”, but please be patient, this is not always easy nor obvious.

 


I find that one of the most powerful things in life is to find ones purpose.  Without a purpose we can drift from month to month and year to year, being blown by the metaphorical wind and tide of life with no focus on where we should be heading.  With a (strong) purpose we can weather most storms, show resilience, courage and an inner confidence that others find comforting and inspirational.

So the questions that come to mind are:

What is a purpose, why is it so important and how do we find our own?

This is the second of three separate and short blogs over a couple of weeks.  I would love to hear your feedback as we go so I can address any questions in the next instalment, please email me at antony@its-leadership.co.uk


2. Why is Purpose so important?

A clear purpose gives us resilience, courage and an inner confidence that others find comforting and inspirational.  Having a strong purpose takes us beyond ourselves and soon we are fighting for a much greater good and thus the level of our own importance diminishes.  This is true “servant leadership” and takes us to a place where our levels of success and achievement can surpass anything we previously thought possible.  Think here of Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa and the Dalai Lama as prime examples of humble leaders with an amazing intent that shone from within them and made them feel nothing and yet everything all at the same time.

Simply put, our Purpose helps us put the jigsaw of our life both together and then on display in a way that helps to organise others to achieve something together.  This creates some wonderous and even miraculous movements and events; think of the end of apartheid in South Africa, the collapse of the Berlin Wall in Germany and even Live Aid.  None of these happened overnight, and all started with an incredible purpose to impact beyond any individual, that gelled communities to come together and achieve the impossible.

Now not all purposes need to be world-changing, but the higher the context of our Purpose, the more transformative we can be.

Intrigued?

See our third and final blog on “How to find Our Purpose” soon.

If you’re interested in learning more or finding help to find your purpose, as an individual, team or organisation then do give us a call or email me (antony@its-leadership.co.uk).

After all, iTS Leadership!

With love

Antony

Finding our purpose

I find that one of the most powerful things in life is to find ones purpose and recently I have been having a lot of conversations with people about “Purpose”; their purpose, the organisational purpose and even the purpose for a meeting or project team.  I therefore thought a series of very short blogs on this subject could well be helpful for many of you.

Without a purpose we can drift from month to month and year to year, being blown by the metaphorical wind and tide of life with no focus on where we should be heading.  With a (strong) purpose we can weather most storms, show resilience, courage and an inner confidence that others find comforting and inspirational.

So the questions that come to mind are: what is a purpose, why is it so important and how do we find our own?  I shall answer these three questions over three separate and short blogs over the next couple of weeks.  I would love to hear your feedback as we go so I can address any questions in the next instalment, please email me at antony@its-leadership.co.uk


 1. What is a purpose?

A purpose is an intent and a “why” statement.  According to the dictionary it is “the reason something is done.”  In my experience, the more succinct we make our purpose statement, the easier it is to understand and remember and the more potent a tool for us in the task, project or “life” in which we are seeking success.

One of the challenges with “purpose” is that there are so many different levels we could pitch this at.  Pitch too high and it gives us very little help and direction.  Pitch too low and it lacks the passion and drive to bring out the best in us.  Consider these four challenges:-

  • Go shopping to get food for tonight’s meal
  • Fill the fridge with enough food for a week of healthy and nutritious meals
  • Provide enough information and financial resource for all the family to be able to live a healthy life
  • Teach and equip us so that we can grow and thrive

Look at these carefully, all have a what statement together with a “why” or “purpose” statement.  But the purpose grows in context.  If you gave yourself a few minutes to develop a plan to answer each of these, then you may find that the latter ones give you more freedom and scope together with a bigger picture (longer term and higher context of purpose) for “why” you need to do this. The important thing here is that there is no right or wrong, it’s about which helps you the most for where you are today?

Many of you have probably heard and seen Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  It is often reported that our journey through life can be about climbing this ladder as we “tick the box” of what is required in our life at any one time.  I think there is something here that relates to our Purpose.  At the base level we need “to find food and water so our family can survive” before we move on to “develop safety and security so our family can have fun, learn and grow” and so on to each level of the pyramid.

The thing is, it is possible for us to reach a transition point when we achieve one level and then feel lost until we define our next one.  It may well be that we never really had consciousness of what our purpose was before, but now we feel lost, and this could be that the subconscious purpose that guided us is no longer relevant.  There’s nothing wrong in this, it’s how most of us experience life!  If you are feeling “lost” then maybe now is the time to investigate what your current purpose is – and I use the word “is” rather than “could/should be” as I really do believe that our purpose is a bit like a diamond in the rock; it’s always there, we just need to chip away to reveal it.


In Part 2 we will look into “Why having a purpose is so important”.  Keep an eye out, it’s coming soon.

If you’re interested in learning more or finding help to find your purpose, as an individual, team or organisation then do give us a call or email me (antony@its-leadership.co.uk).

After all, iTS Leadership!

With love

Antony

I learned about leading from – reading that book…AGAIN!

Have you ever read a book, or part of a book, or even watched a film again after several times and noticed something that you’ve never quite noticed with that intensity or level of insight before?  That’s exactly what happened to me early yesterday morning and I found it both exhilarating and inspiring!

Many of you who have worked with me will know that I am a fan of Michael Neill.  I admire his ability to put some challenging things into everyday language so that we can understand and change ourselves accordingly. He is also a very entertaining presenter!

This weekend, whilst reminding myself of some of the key messages from his book “The Space Within”, he mentioned that so many of us are looking how to “come alive” as we know instinctively there is more to life than what we are experiencing today, and that we wish to feel more connected to that feeling.  I find this to be true also in my own experience working with so many groups and individuals that I speak to and love to take them towards this place.

What he said next though was really useful to my work as a transformative mentor….that in the back of his mind he has two questions that inform him as to which direction to take in his journey with his clients (and their journey with him!).

Q1 – Do they know where their experience is coming from?

The truth is that most people think that their experience of life comes from their interactions with other people, circumstances, environments and “the world” in general. “It’s just how it is!  There’s nothing I can do about it”is a phrase I hear so very much.  When I’m working with people, I can certainly help them deal with these factors and situations, and that is of value to them for sure, but how much more valuable would it be if I could help them see where their experience is coming from such that they could, potentially, change or affect that?

When we can see the role “thought” and our “thinking” plays in creating our experience of the world, suddenly the world becomes a very different place to play in! You see we are not in control of what thoughts enter our heads, however, we are in control of the ones we pay attention to!!  The truth is that we do not experience other people, things, situations or environments…we only EVER experience our THINKING of other people, things , situations and environments.  Think about it (excuse the pun!) on two consecutive days you can have the same experience and react very differently (for all sorts of reasons)…two people having the same experience can react so different, so instinctively we know this to be true…it is ONLY our thinking that we ever experience and NEVER the “thing” itself.

The thing is, thoughts appear real but they are not reality…they are just a story in our heads and whilst in our heads they have no physical form.  But thoughts create feelings and these feelings are very real…and they make us believe that the thought therefore is real (because we can FEEL it…so it must be…right?!?!)  We then REACT to our feeling and in doing so physically manifest the thought we had…we really do create the WHOLE of our own reality!

Whilst this understanding has been at the heart of our work for several years, the fundamental shift to this being one of 2 key questions I find somehow obvious and yet amazingly clarifying.

This question is THE key step to realising our potential in this world, connecting to our deeper self and demonstrating true leadership in what we do.

So what about question two?

Q2.  Do they know that they are God?

Now I always get nervous about the use of religious words!  These are Michaels words and I get what he means, so please bear with me as I explain further.  “God” is a word for some “universal energy” that lies behind all life, brings the seasons, the circle of life and connects us and everything in this world in ways we kind of know but never understand fully.  Some call it a Universal Mind or Universal Energy.  It’s the thing that holds it all together.  It is that which we have no control over.  It is the energy that means that everything happens for a reason…it’s just we don’t know what that is yet.  We are mind and mind is us.  If we go looking for it then that’s as crazy as a drop of water (in the ocean) looking for the ocean!  We are it and we are in it.  We are “God”…and that means we were born perfect and all have exactly the same access to the infinite energy and source of wisdom available to every human being on this planet.

The issue here is that when we live believing that everything we experience comes from outside of us, then we look to fix everything outside and also fix ourselves in order to change the way people treat us.  This is not only a never-ending process but it is also exhausting for us.  In addition when we are looking in this direction we switch off our connection and awareness of the infinite wisdom we are naturally gifted with all our life.

So What?

When we can understand both of these statements/questions, then we really do perform at our best, have more fun being ourselves than ever before and live life with a smile, gratitude and compassion.  Surely this is the “home” so many of us are seeking.

Michael explains it far better than me. I recommend the book!  But in the meantime I will enjoy the renewed focus this has given me.

If you wish to hear more about this and realising your true potential then please do give us a call or email (antony@its-leadership.co.uk).

After all, iTS Leadership!

Warmly

Antony