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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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Why playing it safe isn't always your best bet

Weighing up the options
What is it about change that we as humans don’t like? For many, change is a negative thing and something to be feared but is that always the case? Can there be some benefit in change? For creatures of habit – probably not, but for those who believe the only constant in life is change, they embrace it and roll with the punches.
 
Comfortably uncomfortable
Recently, my family and I met up with four other families to spend a glorious Bank Holiday Monday together on the coast. Beach shelters, picnic blankets and provisions in hand, we all plonked ourselves on a lovely sandy area near to the waters edge, much to the horror of those around us who had probably hoped for a nice quiet day. There’s nothing quiet about 11 kids, 10 adults and three dogs…

The braver souls threw themselves in to the sea for fun and larks and it was a sight to behold – the type of thing that’s good for the soul. These are families who don’t...

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How knowing one simple, yet fundamental thing puts you with the elite thinkers.

What do you do and who do you know?
Are you living your life being true to yourself, or are you constantly trying to keep up with the Jones’s? Maybe it’s about the salary you think you should be earning by your age and stage in life, living in the house that befits someone of your standing, sending your children to the ‘right’ school, holidaying in the latest ‘in’ destination and being seen at the popular social functions etc. Sometimes it’s all so exhausting!
 
Ed Sheeran’s song Beautiful People is a great social comment on how so many people strive to fit in rather than be themselves and happy with who they are. The video depicts two ‘ordinary’ people arriving at an airport and then to their surprise, being ushered into a limo. There they sit, drinking out of their apple juice cartons, eating a packet of crisps, watching bemused as Lamborghinis and Hummers stream past. The whole video plays out with them at a pool...

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Advice for a younger self

Friday lunchtime musings

The average lifetime in the Western world is said to be around 80 years so if asked to guestimate how many days that would be, what would be your answer? No calculators or frantic mental maths allowed! 30,000? 50,000? 75,000? 100,000? 150,000 or 200,000? It’s actually 30,000 days, so that’s an average of 4,000 weekends, which, if you think about, you’ve probably already had a fair few of already…

To put it another way, for ease, if you take the biblical allotment - 3 score and 10, therefore 70 years, and equate each decade of your life to a day of the week, you can work out which day of the week you’re on. So, 0 to 10 years is Monday, 11 to 20 is Tuesday and so on… which day are you on? I’m on Friday lunchtime which certainly gives me food for thought and is my motivator to keep pushing myself forward - to constantly think about what I want to be and achieve.

On the Winning Edge, we talk about the day of the week...

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Do you have a success story…

Once upon a time…

Are you sitting comfortably...? Then, I’ll begin. Familiar words for storytime, for those of us of a ‘certain age’.

We all have a story to tell. Words that we have crafted to describe ourselves. Who we are, what we do, what we’ve achieved and experienced, how we live our life. Our story defines us. The words we choose and the way we ‘act out’ our story influences the decisions we make and the outcomes we create that construct our personal reality. Our story shapes our self-image giving us, and others, a sense of who we are.

The script becomes our identity and the more we act out our story the more embedded it becomes in our psyche. The more we re-tell our story, the more hardwired it becomes. Like any repetitive thought and self-talk, the story morphs into a belief about who we think we are, and it becomes the ‘face’ we project to the outside world. For some people their story is a consciously crafted one. For...

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How you can be the hero of your story

The crossroads of choice

Shelli Varela was a struggling artist working as a nail technician. This wasn’t her destiny, she knew that deep in her heart, but for the moment, she felt stuck in a loop.

Her friend Steve was a firefighter and he would regale Shelli with stories of breath-taking rescue efforts and of his team’s great fortitude when faced with the impossible. Shelli was enthralled. She’d ask him countless questions - not just about the details of each incident him and the team got called out to, she asked specifics about fire pumps, hazardous materials and even what each ‘dangerous goods materials’ sign meant on the back of trucks. Finally, the endless questioning led Steve to ask Shelli the inevitable: “Why don’t you just apply?!” Shelli’s answer was one of incredulity? “Apply for what?! I’m 5ft 2in. 108lbs. I’m not big enough, brave enough, smart enough, nor strong enough – and there’s no...

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5 Simple ways to deal with burn-out and stress

The occupational phenomenon
Burn-out is trending as one of the most common words to be looked up in Dictionary.com. It seems ‘stress’ does not adequately cover when an individual is exhausted and overwhelmed by events and the situation they are in.
 
Burn-out is defined as “fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity.” Is burn-out now a more intense word to describe work-place stress? If we go to the GP with ‘stress’, perhaps this does not sufficiently sound like a problem that needs addressing, as opposed to ‘burn-out’. This obviously signifies a far greater need for urgent attention…

Burn-out is now included in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (#ICD11) as an occupational phenomenon. It is not however classified as a medical condition and crucially, they say it’s a result of ‘chronic workplace stress which has not...

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Quoting a clever POTUS

Never judge a book by its cover
Growing up, I was always told never to judge a book by its cover – to not make assumptions about someone, to not listen to gossip but to get to know them and find out for myself. And certainly, to never share my thoughts with anyone else – if it isn’t true, kind or necessary, don’t say it. It’s good advice.

In a previous life I worked for a travel company. They ran coach tours to various parts of the UK and my role was to greet the passengers at a motorway services where an interchange took place – the tour coaches turned into what we called feeder coaches – taking the passengers home. The coach drivers would swap the luggage to the appropriate coaches and I ensured everyone boarded the correct vehicle. It could get confusing, hence the need for my role.

Coach drivers are all different characters – gruff, talkative, some went above and beyond with their passengers, for some it was just a job and they...

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