Monthly Archives: July 2021

G is for Grace, G is for Grit

"Grace and Grit: Spirituality and Healing in the Life and Death of Treya Killam Wilber" is the title of a stunning, powerful book by Ken Wilber. You cannot be untouched by it, it leaves you different. You cannot but ask about Purpose.

What is my why? What is my Blues Brothers Mission from God? What idea do I want to "sell"?

I'm for the underdog. Overcoming obstacles, surmounting challenges, persevering no matter what, never, EVER giving up.

No respect for anyone or anything that hasn't earned it and doesn't honour it

Belief in myself.
Belief in the goodness of myself, even though I've fallen and failed more times than I can count or remember.

Remembering that all through the times I didn't believe in myself, didn't believe I was worthy, didn't believe I was a worthwhile human being, there were hosts of angels and powerful forces surrounding me and living people who held the belief for me.

I believe in Anger and the power of Angry to get shit done.
Depression is accepting the lie that I was actively complicit in being unworthy.
I wasn't. That doesn't take away my depression, but it enlightens it.

I still feel anger towards the fuckers who fucked me, physically and metaphorically.
I don't know how to forgive.

I'm an expert at forgetting.
Remembering the hurt, the pain, the isolation, the rejection and cruelty, the manipulation, the blaming and being blamed was too much for me so I hid it, buried it deep, deep inside.

I thought my soul was rotten. Each new lie, new theft, new betrayal, new promise made and then abandoned stained it black and blue.
Before I could vote, I already knew I was damned.
In the first 5 years of my adult life, I was suicidal more often than not. It wasn't until I was in my late 50's I recognised I had several psychotic episodes at that time.

It was also in my late 50's that I finally stopped burying and dismissing the hurt and harm of having been sexually abused at 13. One psychotherapist had me visualise meeting my attacker and forgiving him - as I said above, I haven't any clue of how to forgive. Do you think if I did, I would have condemned myself?

Eventually, I made a serious attempt to die and ended up critically ill with little prospect of surviving. There was then a watershed moment, the realisation that I didn't want to die - I just didn't want to live this life I was living.

I didn't know how to change.
I asked for help - not to anyone or anything because I didn't believe in that. I just asked in my mind.
And help arrived, in several forms.

One was a book from a great friend of mine, Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I swear I Iaughed so much it shook the poisons from my body.

One was the prospect of a place in a drug and alcohol rehab centre. I took it.

At the tender age of 23 I embarked on a new life journey - clean and sober and while I don't attend AA or NA (I did for about 2 years) I am truly blessed with a life beyond my wildest dreams.

I still brought all my baggage with me and it has caused me pain and difficulty along the way but it's been almost 37 years now and I'm beginning to appreciate that I am what I am. There's no salvation in trying to be what I think the world wants me to be and I'm less and less inclined to pretend.

Jim Rohn taught that it is our responsibility to become wealthy, not just for what that entails and allows us to do, but for who we become in the process.

There are millions upon millions of us in this world who don't feel worthy, who sabotage our success because we feel locked into old destructive habits and identities. We compound the burden of self blame, self hate and feel life dragging us down. And we know life is not meant to be this way. We feel it in our bones, in the core of our souls. But we don't know how to make that real.

My mission is to stand for you as others stood for me. There is nothing in this life that can defeat you unless you surrender. There is no mistake too big to move beyond. There is no pain too deep to find the bottom of.

We are deluded - we believe the past and the future are real, that they exist and that this moment, now, is a fleeting thing. All external power, all oppression depends on us continuing in this fantasy. As long as we live in the nightmare, we are condemned to spend our precious lives chasing ghosts, pursuing the will-o-the-wisp, sacrificing what is real and what really matters to waste our time, attention, energy, love and life force seeking the leprechaun's pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Leprechauns aren't real. Nor is the will-o-the-wisp.
Ghosts live in your head.
The past doesn't exist - it's over and gone.
The future doesn't exist - and it never will.

The only thing that exists is here and now - there is no other where, no other when.
I learned this from Ram Dass in the summer of 1976, sitting out on a hot flat roof - I just didn't realise it.

So, who am I here to serve?
You know.
Find Me.

Free Workshop

You may not know it but I trained as an accountant with KPMG and since I qualified in 1990, I've been working in finance, general management, marketing, and business development.

Over the course of more than 30 years, the problem I come across most often is entrepreneurs getting tied up in knots trying to do everything, keep the show on the road, and making everything way more complex than it needs to be.

There are 7 key ways to grow your business. They cost little or no money to do. And they work, every time. I've helped clients grow their sales by 100% and more in all kinds of business, even in the Great Recession & Aftermath (2008-10).

Now, the global economy and most local economies are affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and uncertainty is at an all time high. I'm thinking of developing a course or book on this topic. If there is enough interest, I will host a Free Workshop.

So if this is something you'd like, all you have to do is say "yes please" in the comments below.

And I'd really appreciate it if you would share it on your social media 😊

Thanks

F is for Frog

I remember as a child collecting frog spawn in a jar and bringing it home, or into school, and keeping it to see the tadpoles develop and eventually the frogs emerge. Truth be told, very few made it to frog - stagnant water, jam jars left out in the sun, thieving dogs and cats - all conspired to reduce the hundreds of spawn to nothing.

 

In those days we had no awareness of the delicate balance of nature and taking frog spawn was even encouraged as part of "nature study." Thankfully, we are now more mindful of the importance of leaving nature undisturbed as much as possible.

Frogs are magical creatures.... every child knows the story of the Frog Prince and Kermit was one of the key characters in Sesame Street and, of course, the Muppets.

The frog's development from a water baby into an amphibian is intriguing, presenting us with an animal equally at home on land or in water. The fairytale theme of the frog's exterior masking a princely inner nature is captivating.

Bandler and Grinder used this to good effect in their seminal NLP treatise, "Frogs into Princes" (1979) and "spawned" a whole new industry in personal development and self improvement. Whatever the actual merits of Neuro Linguistic Programming, NLP became mainstream by the 1990's and has hung in there ever since.

In 1992 I came across Tony Robbins' "Unlimited Power" (1986) - I picked it up for a transit read while on my way to an accounting conference in the UK. I became so absorbed in the book that the conference faded into insignificance. I was fascinated at the idea of mirroring someone's posture and movements as part of building rapport and could hardly wait to try it out. So next morning at breakfast I mirrored the person I was talking to at the table. The results were astounding - too good. Not only did we develop strong rapport, but I couldn't shake him for the remainder of the event.

In business, we are conditioned to be dissatisfied and discontented. Resting on your laurels is frowned upon. Eternal and everlasting pursuit of "growth" is encouraged. Today's accomplishments are celebrated and quickly used to justify the demand for even greater results tomorrow.

We are driven toward perpetual learning, development, and up-skilling. It's not enough to show you can do the job, you've got to demonstrate your accomplishments above and beyond the demands of the role - show what extra value you can bring. It seems we don't ponder the morality of paying for less than we receive or demanding more than we're willing to pay for - and yet this is the space many companies operate in. And the void many employees try (vainly) to fill.

Yes, it's true that we all have untapped potential and are generally limited more by ourselves than any external factor. But not every frog is a bewitched prince. Mostly frogs are frogs.

How do I distinguish between becoming the best version of me that I'm capable of and selling my soul for a worthless token?

Have you ever found yourself in this position? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts. Thanks.

E is for Elephant (in the Room)

Long, long ago (seems like it was another life altogether) I was retained to manage a company.

New owners had taken over and the guy they put in to replace the previous CEO didn't understand the business. My contract was for a few months, with the prospect of a longer term appointment if things went well.

One of the first things I do with any new client is find out about the sacred cows, i.e. things that can't be touched. Most people say there are none but there are always sacred cows.

The trick is to identify them before they kill you off.

True to form, my new clients said 'no sacred cows here - everything is up for review."

So I set to work.

Put an end to panic and firefighting.

Gave staff a much needed sense of direction and purpose.

Recruited an excellent #2 who could fill a gaping hole in service management and delivery.

Put together a sane, pragmatic plan to bring the place up to safe and current standards of operation

Proposed a restructuring and redundancy program.

And had all this approved by the Board.

In less than 90 days, sales had hit new heights for best day, best week and best month.

With 3 weeks to go, the Board Chair told me, I'll be down to you on Monday with your offer.

Met him on Friday and somehow Monday was now Tuesday.

Tuesday came and with it, no offer. Instead, he told me they weren't going to make an offer and I wouldn't be wanted beyond the end of that contract.

So what went wrong?

Sacred Cows, that's what.

One of the advantages of having been in this game for many years is I've made plenty of mistakes. Another is having survived several disasters and what could otherwise be career-ending events.

So when things start to go off the rails, I can usually spot it. But ambition and a desire to be "wanted" can still cloud my vision.

So it was in this case - I was too busy "being good at my job" to pay attention to the elephants in the room.

I got plenty of warning - looking back, these Sacred Cow Elephants were well flagged.

I admit it - I should have known better, should have seen it sooner.

The signs were there to be read even before the engagement began. I chose to discount the unnecessary lies and conflicting signals and to accept the lies that suited the narrative I wanted to hear.

Because I wanted it to work out. Isn't funny how we convince ourselves of what we want to believe?

In the end, there I was a little older and a wee bit wiser.

Clearer on the type of person I'm here to serve.

Clearer too on the types of people I don't want to work with, or be associated with.

At my second meeting with the Board Chair he outlined the lie he was going to tell the then CEO, and that he wanted me to go along with.

Although I didn't tell the lie myself, I didn't tell the truth either and so I colluded in the dishonesty.

It made me feel dirty and ashamed.

It also rang a little bell in my head reminding me of another time in another life when someone had done much the same - but I ignored that bell and carried on.

In delivering the news that my services would not be required past the initial contract, this Board Chair said we would tell people I had decided to move on.

This time, I didn't go along with it. I told the truth simply and clearly.

He seemed shocked and said "but we agreed."

My answer was  that I had told him I wouldn't lie, and I didn't.

That left me feeling clean and proud.

As Gerry Robert says, "How you do one thing is how you do everything."