February 2

Are you living the dream?

Are you living the dream?

I am not sure how many people know that Brian May’s iconic and signature “Red Special” guitar, was built by him and his father (who was an electronics engineer) when May was a teenager. So songs such as Bohemian Rhapsody were recorded on a guitar that was built with wood from an 18th century fireplace, had a fingerboard lacquered with Rustin’s Plastic coating and a tremolo arm made from an old bicycle saddlebag topped with a knob off a knitting needle.

It would be disingenuous to conclude that the “Red Special” is just cobbled together. May and his father (according to May) spent many hours hand shaping and sanding the guitar body until it was just right. As his father was an engineer by trade, he set high standards and the guitar had to be just right. There are other personal touches, as the dots on the fret board are old mother of pearl buttons and you will notice that on the headstock there is a sixpence.

January 21

Perceptions

Perceptions

Popular mythology would have you believe that some rock stars are spoiled prima Donna’s. For years David Lee Roth of the band Van Halen was held up as an example of this because he always insisted on bowls of M&M’s backstage – but the brown ones had to be removed.

On the surface of it, it seems pretty interesting behaviour.

Van Halen was the first band to hit the road with monster shows. You are talking 19 articulated lorries full of equipment. This meant that the shows were complicated to assemble, involved a lot of detail and there were specific requirements of the venue’s where they were going to be staged.

January 8

Against all odds….

Against all odds….

What does it mean to be really driven by success? We often hear people talk about career success using words such as drive, focus, passion and commitment. We should also acknowledge for many small businesses attributes such as dedication and self-sacrifice are part of the landscape. But what is reality?

In a Sunday Times article last year, there was a joint interview of James Dyson and his son Jake. Jake recalled how, when his father was developing his bagless vacuum cleaners, he built 5127 prototypes before he got the concept right. Yes, 5127! Can you imagine the long hours and the challenges of trying to fund this work as well as deal with a young family?

January 3

Resolutions… The Party’s Over…

Resolutions… The Party’s Over…

Was trolling through the Fast Company News bulletins this morning (recommend as a source of general business reading) and came across an article “The Trick to Actually Making Your Resolutions Stick This Year”. Made me laugh, given my post recommending that you Shouldn’t make resolutions..

However, I note the themes are broadly similar between this post and my blog so note these here for convenience:

December 31

Resolutions – give them up!

Resolutions – give them up!

It is that time of year, when people think New Year, new leaf… turn the page. They do this by resolving to do something differently and live a different life. Let me ask you a question, do you do this? If so, what is your track record. (#Resolutions)

It is a curious custom. Once a year after we have spent quality time with family and friends, we realise that we may have some different choices. You regularly hear of people who are fed up with the 9-to-5 existence, who desire better life outcomes (such as more exercise), different body shapes, to give up alcohol, tobacco etc. There are many things people might desire to change given the impetus of a New Year.

December 21

What got you here….

What got you here….

When I watch television programmes like The Apprentice (#TheApprentice) I always pay attention to the ways in which candidates appear to limit themselves. Time after time, in the boardroom, candidates defend themselves with their claims that they can sell, or project manage (when they are not trying to point out each others failings). As a coach, I always try to notice the ways in which people could improve and realise their potential.

What the candidates don’t appear to understand, is that the ability to sell or manage a task are ‘givens’. To get the investment, Alan Sugar appears to expect that people are competent in these areas. From time to time he also expects that candidates also live up to their stated abilities – notable this series was the finance person who didn’t work out the break even on the coach tour they were required to organise and make money from. Business is about getting money from your customers bank account into your own, so you have to sell, but you also have to manage your business, market and lead.

November 24

Think like a winner

Think like a winner

Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton (#lewishamilton) – World F1 Champion – great achievement

Whilst this is the pinnacle of his year, you can’t forget the twists and turns that made this an exciting season for him. Engine failure in the first race left him trailing in the rankings right from the start. This was to happen again, because of various different circumstances and he found himself with a 20 point deficit for the Championship lead three times. How did he respond? Lets hear from Hamilton in his own words: “I really thought for the following days and turned my focus to a different area. I came back to the races with a slightly different approach. I won’t explain exactly what I did, because I need to bring it to the races next year, but I did tweak my approach throughout the weekend.” (source: BBC News).

November 18

Guaranteed Success!

Guaranteed Success!

That got your attention.

We see these suggestions all the time… “5 ways in which you can be successful”, “15 ways to be the next billionaire”. Fantastic… I have so many ideas about how I can be the next Warren Buffett it is incredible. However, whilst I am living the dream I am, alas not Mr Buffett Mk 2 (in reality nor would I want to be, but that is another story…). My personal favourite is how to be successful like Richard Branson (or any other great entrepreneur of our time).

July 24

What is good customer service?

What is good customer service?

A great many years ago, I bought a pair of boots in the US whilst on holiday. I rarely wore them and they tended to sit in the back of a cupboard most of the time. After I had owned them for about 10 years I got them out to wear and found that the soles had started to perish. This was a very well known brand. I wasn’t particularly impressed, so I wrote to their UK Head Office. I got a nice letter back and was asked to return the boots. In the covering letter I enclosed when I did this, I mentioned that I had bought the boots in the US and would be happy with a repair. Given the age of the boots I also said I’d be happy to pay (as I figured this would be cheaper than replacement.

June 14

Happiness is by choice and not chance….

Happiness is by choice and not chance….

I came across this quote recently and it is a prescient reminder that we have more choice than perhaps we think we do. We often make up reasons why we have ‘got to’ do something. “I will get fired”, “So and so will hate me”, “It will all end in tears”… How many of these things are true in reality? It is a choice. I will be at work tomorrow morning because I choose to be. If I don’t show up, I may get fired, I may not. The point is I have a choice about what happens and I can control my own destiny. There isn’t someone with a loaded gun at my head ‘making’ me go to work.

We often forget that we DO have a choice. We make things up, we imagine dire consequences. We allow ourselves to be swayed about what could happen. In this world, the consequences assume a life of their own and they stop us from taking action and being responsible for our own success.

Ask, find out, don’t assume. Happiness is a conscious choice.

NEWER OLDER 1 2 9 10 11