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Why identifying lighthouses helps you to see the way forward

When you need more than faith, hope and chocolate fudge cake

I met a very inspiring woman recently. Laura and I met through a mutual friend and we got chatting, as you do over coffee and cake. We talked about our busy lives and she asked if I work and if so, what do I do. So, I explained all about the Winning Edge and mindset management. Laura was fascinated. As the conversation continued, I started to understand why she was so interested in what I do.

Laura doesn’t work because her daughter has cerebral palsy. Josie was starved of oxygen due to complications at birth and so Laura needs to be on hand day-to-day to help with Josie’s care. Josie is now 18 but she will never be able to live completely independently – she will always need a high level of care available. However, Laura has fought tooth and nail to ensure her daughter’s life is normalised as much as is possible, within the parameters of what her condition allows.

Fighting for Josie to go to...

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The power comes when you control your response over what’s happening.

What’s within us that’s beyond the reach of all circumstance…

I follow a business coach on Facebook and am in their ‘closed’ group. I enjoy the banter from the group and appreciate the support and accountability that everyone offers each other. Recently, someone posted a motivational text with their comment alongside it. I felt awful for this poor soul because along with a number of people ‘liking’ and ‘hearting’ the post, one person not only disagreed with the post but shot her down in flames.

The premise of the quote and post was very Winning Edge – that whatever happens to us in life, it’s up to us as to how we respond – that no one can make us feel guilty, sad, frustrated or disappointed – that no one can make us feel anything. There then ensued a whole raft of responses – in the main, agreeing with the original ‘poster’ but some who said that this quote negated the circumstances of...

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Why backpacks and rucksacks mean we’re always prepared...

The obstacle course that is life

Post Rugby World Cup semi-final with England vs New Zealand, I was taking a breath revelling in England’s victory, when Ninja Warrior UK started. My family love this programme – the fantastic attitude the competitors bring to the course, the entertainment element and watching through your fingers as you will them on, hoping they don’t fall into the water…

I watched as one guy, who you’d never expect to take part in a challenging obstacle course, complete the whole thing in almost record time. Talk about never judge a book by its cover… His frame was pretty wiry, he wore a baggy t-shirt - which looked more like something you’d wear on a sloppy Sunday - and he just didn’t look like someone who’d be up for an adrenaline-fuelled session on an obstacle course. Yet he didn’t seem to take a breath between each monkey ring, wind chime, balance log, jump hang and finally, ‘The Wall’....

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How our comfort zone ensures best gets in the way of better…

Judi in disguise

My godmother (let’s call her Judi) has a lovely life, mainly running along one track and she’s happy bobbing along doing her thing. She doesn’t invite change and isn’t a huge fan of it.

She did the living and working in the Big Smoke thing, went travelling to far flung places, got married and started a family. I love hearing about Judi’s past adventures and sometimes feel sad that her life is so far removed from what it once was - she has changed so much. She no longer seems to want the adventures, the travels, the excitement. The Judi that was, has evolved into the Judi who doesn’t. And that’s perfectly fine if Judi is happy living that kind of life but I sense there’s a longing to try something new; over the years though, Judi’s confidence and self-belief have slowly ebbed away so I think she’s reached a point where she probably doesn’t think herself capable of trying new things.

She no longer works...

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What lies beyond the reach of circumstance, is within you and you alone.

Totally addicted to…

Are people with addiction predisposed to this type of behaviour, or is it a matter of the way they think? A recent study aimed to answer this question and researchers at the University of British Columbia looked at whether there’s a genetic predisposition to gambling addiction. They studied those with a gambling disorder, their siblings and a control group. Findings found there may be a genetic predisposition and also that addiction could change people’s brains to become more sensitive to the thrill of betting.

It was a relatively small cohort and one important conclusion, which of course doesn’t make a headline, is that when the brain scans of non-gambling siblings and a control group were looked at, there were no differences, suggesting perhaps the brain activity found in addicts may have developed as a result of their gambling. In effect, they had created new neural pathways for their repeated behaviours and craved the...

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Learning my happiness is my choice is a powerful position to be in

The control you gain through personal accountability

My life until my early 30’s followed a fairly smooth path. Yes, my parents separated when I was young and that took much adjustment but because they worked together to ensure my sister and I had as ‘normal’ an upbringing as possible, the acrimony was kept to a minimum. I grew up with step-parents in the mix so I felt blessed to have that extra love in my life.

Getting good results at school didn’t come easy so I worked hard and there were quite a few knocks to my confidence but with a supportive family, I would pick myself up and carry on. I passed my driving test first time, went to College and then to University. I met my now husband quite young and we moved to London to look for those streets paved with gold…

Work was hard to come by but we forged links and made contacts and we did it – we made our own luck. A year spent travelling was an education. We’d saved long and hard to make...

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Why understanding our emotional misdirection puts us back in the driving seat

Why understanding our emotional misdirection puts us back in the driving seat

Emotional vortex

I’m in a foul mood today and am working very hard on ensuring this isn’t misdirected and misplaced and that the wrong person feels my wrath for the wrong reason.

Taking a moment to think about the way I’m feeling and paring it right back to my thoughts, it’s not anger I am feeling, nor frustration - it is sadness which is manifesting itself in a different guise. There has been a bereavement in the family. Not unexpected and it’s far better our loved one is no longer in pain and is now in peace. Just because we knew they would leave us at any day, doesn’t mean the pain isn’t there. It’s getting used to a new normal. The thoughts we’ve had have been consumed worrying about their level of pain, arrangements to visit them and so forth; these are now replaced with different thoughts – memories of the good times, the funny family...

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Why the mindset I adopt creates the vibe I need to face the tough times

How to keep your head whilst all around are losing theirs.

I met my friend Laurie for coffee the other day. It was a long overdue catch-up and there was some guilt on my part because I know things have been tough for her recently. I just didn’t realise how tough.

This is a list of the stream of consciousness Laurie shared with me:

  • I know that Laurie’s husband Simon has been undergoing treatment for a serious medical condition for the past 18 months and is slowly getting better but she confided in me and said there are long-term complications which mentally, he perhaps isn’t dealing with so well.
  • Laurie is the breadwinner of the family but no longer enjoys her job and her heart isn’t in it. However, it pays well and to change careers and follow her dream, will not bring the same level of salary.
  • Laurie and Simon want to move house – if truth be told, they’ve never really liked that house since they moved in but it was convenient for both work...
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How overcoming your fear of heights means you can achieve anything

You want me to do what now?!

Indulge me for a moment if you will… Imagine two beer crates upside down and across them is a builder’s plank; so, it’s approximately 30cm wide, 4 cm thick and about three metres long. If I offer you £10 to walk from one side of the plank to the other, what might you say? The vast majority of people answer yes – it’s an easy tenner – almost a drink on a Saturday night! OK, let’s change the scenario a little… Imagine those beer crates are now 100 metres up, on the top of two multi-storey buildings, it’s a still day, no wind and I’m prepared to offer you the same £10 reward for doing the same job. So, what’s your answer now, in cleaned up language? Do I hear a chorus of ‘NO!’?! Why no? The risk is the same - the risk is you might fall. What has changed is the consequence of the failure. When the beer crates are on the ground, if you fall off, it’s a...

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Why it's an easy game from the touchline

Who wants to be on my team?
My brother-in-law Jon manages and coaches a football team with 8 to 9-year olds. He’s done this for almost three years and it’s got to the point where he’s just about had enough. It’s not the kids driving him nuts. Well, yes, they can be boisterous, over-excited and not listen to a word he says but that’s what it’s about for him – the kids having fun, learning a skill, teamwork and running off a bit of steam.

Initially, Jon started the team because there wasn’t one in the area for his youngest son’s age and gradually, more and more children have joined the team, which is a great thing. What isn’t so great is the lack of support from fellow parents. Jon runs the team and that means doing all the admin, planning the logistics, as well as taking the training sessions and being present at all the games. He’s repeatedly asked parents if someone will assist but no one ever comes forward.

I...

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