Procrastination is okay and curiosity is a winner….

Here in the UK we’re having something of a heat-wave ; for those of us in climate controlled environments we’re probably chilled, if possibly longing to be in the warmth and sunshine. Those of us in less ‘well-equipped’ environments are keeping cool as best we can. Either way the weather in the UK creates an extraordinary amount of conversation, action and indeed inaction.

Having not written a newsletter for some long months, it was in fact icy when the last one was written, I have been asked for an explanation.

A couple of years ago I found myself completely on my own, astride an off-road motorbike, slightly terrified, in the foothills of the Pyrenees with a 45 degree slippery slope to ascend on my bike. That particular experience turned out to be the catalyst to writing a book. It was to be a two-year journey of writing, and meeting and interviewing some extraordinary people. Individuals that I feel hugely privileged to have met or worked with, that have been successful or overcome some incredible difficulties and hardship to reach their potential. People from all walks of life, business, sport, the charitable sector and everything in between.

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What is it that irrespective of wealth or talent, successful people do that is open to us all? That is what I set out to find out and share, from observations of the incredible people that I have worked with and those that I interviewed and met in the last few years.

Along the way, I met a neuroscientist who contributed the science and rigour to what it is that we do that enables us to flourish and grow, and of course the actions that cause the opposite effect. If we harness our brains and work together, anything is possible. As someone once said, ‘Everything is impossible until someone makes it possible’.

Turns out that procrastination is okay, it occurs due to a lack of information and our brain is signaling that you need to do a bit more research. Curiosity is undoubtedly a winner and I have certainly seen this quality in the greatest leaders and the elite in sport.   What will continually grow our brains however and enable us to reach our potential is constantly seeking out the new and different, our brains work harder and create new cells in doing so. Finally, the power of deliberate action – there’s no denying what can be achieved.

Whatever the weather (wherever you are) what can you do today that is new or different that will shape your future?

‘The Art of Possible – new habits, neuroscience and the power of deliberate action’ is out now on Amazon in hardback and eBook, on iBooks for iOS devices, or click on the picture below.

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Look forward to seeing you very soon.

My warmest wishes,

Kate

Small is big….

 

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The millions of small droplets of moisture that came together to form an extraordinarily tough layer of ice on my windscreen this morning was stunning. Though thinking about the year ahead I couldn’t help but notice the analogy to never underestimate the power of lots of small things coming together to make something amazing, albeit thick ice in this case. It was early!

It is the time of year when the goals, resolutions, new targets and horizons have been envisioned and set. It’s exciting, often bold and usually big.

However hurtling towards the end of January, sometimes those goals and perhaps even dreams might appear a bit too bold, too big or too exciting. And that’s when we have to up the effort and energy to make progress.

I believe it was Vincent Van Gogh said, ‘great things are done by a series of small things brought together’. Small changes can indeed translate into the most profound successes in your single and wider endeavours – both professionally and personally.

As humans though, we aren’t terribly good at change and inevitably big, bold newness is going to require it. There is a remarkable human reluctance to change and as a great deal of psychological research attests, a monumental amount of discomfort people can tolerate before they acknowledge the need for change.

Change is invariably uncomfortable, even if it’s magnificently for the better, at least at the beginning.

So, in leading the change to follow those goals and ambitions for yourself, your team, your company, ponder the following to help you hone the effort and energy required to manifest them.

• Anchor yourself in the future. Constantly have the big picture in mind especially whilst doing the small things. It will ensure that all the small things are going in the right direction to make the big thing happen.
• Transform your narrative. Many would say that we are our story. Not so much the story of our lives but the story we tell about the role we played in the events. Does it need a re-write?
• Constantly break all your big dreams and goals into smaller more manageable and ultimately achievable actions, which you can do on a daily basis.
• And finally – be here, now. Not one single technique or inner evolution is as powerful an antidote to the past and a potential springboard to the future as the capacity to be in the present in the here and now.

Staying fresh, evolving and being current looks seamless and often effortless but like the swan there is a huge amount of drive, tenacity and hard work at play, notwithstanding, out of sight.

Jaeger faced bankruptcy three years ago and the first thing that CEO, Colin Henry tackled when he joined in 2013 was to strip the brand back to the foundations and improve quality. In early 2013 there were just 15% of the clothes made in natural fibres now it’s nearly 80%. Small, incremental and daily changes have brought the brand back to its former glory. The last reported quarterly figures state that sales are up 8.3 % and online sales up 78%. For Jaeger, 2015 is looking big, bold and exciting.

And don’t forget, as I rediscovered last night, the powerful maxim of Winnie the Pooh “ Remember, you’re braver than you believe and stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”

Have a fabulous 2015 and if you would like some assistance with the big, the bold and the exciting, you know where we are.

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Kate Tojeiro is an Executive Performance Coach and Managing Director of X fusion.

Be bold. Be brave. Be you.

I had the privilege of meeting aviator Tracey Curtis Taylor this week. She has just returned from an epic trip, flying solo in her beautiful open cockpit vintage Boeing Stearman plane  ‘The Spirit of Artemis’ across Africa.
Tracey was recreating this pioneering journey first made by Lady Mary Heath in 1928.  She is an inspirational, courageous and driven aviator with an indomitable spirit and talks enthrallingly about the sheer joy of flying, the odd drama, and risk.

We talked about doing what you believe in and that sometimes you just have to get out there and ‘do it’, whatever ‘it’ is in your world.  Many times fear of whatever ‘it’ is stops us or as Tracey confirms, on occasion it’s the fear of the fear.  Finding one’s true purpose, if you will, which syncs comfortably with your values can sometimes appear hard, but when we do, invariably everything comes together and it feels easier.

I believe it was Eleanor Roosevelt that said, ‘do one thing everyday that scares you’. And of course the upside beyond the ‘ scary bit’ is that we learn something and that’s almost always a good thing.  Kids do this every day be it swimming out of their depth, riding a bike, asking for help or as a little boy I spotted half way up a tree the other day yelling ‘Mummy I’m scared’. He was talked/ helped down and promptly went straight up said tree again but higher! 

The organization Netflix has a very clear and strong set of values; how they operate, how they treat their people and a very clear sense of what works for them. They most certainly don’t fear the hard decisions, such as informing people that they don’t fit, removing products that don’t work and the success of the company is testament to that.  Great values and standing by them invariably works.

Overcoming the little hurdles or indeed the big ones broken into chunks, takes steps towards overcoming the fear.

In the words of author of The Alchemist, Paul Coelho “ there is only one thing that makes a dream impossible; the fear of failure”.

Francesca Simon, the author of the multi-million selling Horrid Henry books talks of the getting started bit of writing a book, taking that first step.  She says she ‘tricks’ herself by starting in the middle; a few notes here, a few ideas there and voila, a new chapter, literally and metaphorically, has begun.

Whatever it is that you want to do; take a baby step, trick yourself, be bold, be courageous, believe in you and have a fabulous 2014.

And if you’d like a little help, you know where we are.

The Power of Passion

People are willing to go a long way for things they are passionate about and some things out there do produce irrepressible passion; sport, business, fashion, something that’s got your blood up, so to speak, the sheer joy of a sunny day or a smile from a loved one (or indeed a stranger). 
 
However, is that passion always allowed to come out? 

I had a fascinating conversation with a friend about values, personal values that we sometimes sideline in favour of doing the supposed ‘right thing’ which may be because of other commitments in our lives, families, friends, financial pressures and so on.  We then went on to talk about spirituality in business, yes really…. how some businesses base their whole culture and ethos around spiritual values.
 
USA Today cites that 6 out of 10 employees believe that people would benefit from working in an environment that has a greater sense of spirit.  For some, this means honesty, integrity and good quality work. For others it’s treating co-workers and customers in a responsible and caring way.  For others it may ‘just’ be being a bit more kind to other people, whether they’ve metaphorically rubbed you up the wrong way or not.  Now this isn’t 6 out of 10 enjoying that environment it’s 6 out of 10 knowing (instinctively perhaps) that it would make a difference.
 
The renowned Saatchi ‘lovemarks’ were born from the question “What makes some brands inspirational, while others struggle?”
 
“Lovemarks” are essentially brilliant stories about people and about products and about services of excellence, of inspiration, of extraordinary emotional connections. They embrace the passion of your heart and your mind and inspire loyalty beyond reason.  In fact they go so far as to say, take away a brand and people will find another, take away a ‘lovemark’ and people will protest its absence. 
 
I had the joy of listening to the phenomenal songwriter Nile Rodgers (We are family; Sister Sledge, Get Lucky; Daft Punk) talking in an interview about his life, music and brush with cancer.  He talked of the ‘getting your affairs in order’ conversation that kept happening with doctors.  To him, getting his affairs in order meant getting out there in concert and playing his music, how great for all of us.
 
He also talked of the day he was in the urinals at a club with two very tall transvestites either side of him and how he ran outside to his friend and said I need to write a song called “I’m coming out’. Many sternly warned Diana Ross that if she sang that song her career would finish in an instant!  It continues to be one of her best sellers.
 
When we stand for what we are truly passionate about the results speak for themselves, others see the passion, we excel and generally succeed, overcoming the hurdles thrown in our way.  We all have a passion for something though I concede for some it may require a little searching.
 
Have you allowed your passion to come out? 

Kate is an executive coach to some of the world’s most successful leaders in some of the world’s largest and smallest companies.  You can contact her at www.the-x-fusion.co.uk