Tag Archives: blog inspiration

10 ways to start 2016 on a positive note


The recent Forbes report certainly shows that the bubble hasn’t popped yet.

That’s the easy conclusion of Forbes’ latest Hottest Start-ups list, which ranks Silicon Valley’s most successful companies in 2015 by one simple metric: the fastest growing valuations over time between funding rounds. That means their list captures the most in-demand start-ups, the ones for which investors had the highest hopes–and wrote the biggest checks.

Combined, the top 50 hottest start-ups raised over $7 billion this year and have a total valuation close to $120 billion.

Interestingly enough, Forbes took an end-of-year look at companies leading the way as valuations get extra frothy, ranking the Hottest Start-ups of 2014 by fastest growing valuation over time between funding rounds. These aren’t necessarily the most successful (or most hyped) start-ups — but they are the ones that investors are betting the biggest bucks on for the future.

The list is headlined by a who’s who of unicorns grabbing huge sums of cash. Ride-hailing juggernaut Uber (#16) is raising $2.1 billion to add to the $1 billion it raised in July. Workplace communication tool Slack (#2) raised $160 million, shared workplace landlord WeWork (#31) raised $433 million, and cyber-security start-up Tanium (#21) raised $120 million.

However, many start-ups at the top of the list are slightly off the beaten track. Secretive Uptake Technologies ranks first over all, coming out of nowhere to raise $45 million at a valuation of $1.1 billion. Uptake, run by former Groupon co-founder Brad Keywell, promises to provide the data analytics back end for the Internet of things revolution coming to major traditional industries like construction and aviation.

It is a fact that no business is guaranteed to succeed. But with the right level of energy, passion, determination to a belief in yourself and your product/service you can progress independently with your dream idea and business.

The beginning of the year has arrived and while it’s important to take some time to assess the positives and negatives of 2015, it is also worthwhile ensuring everything is ready for the year ahead so that 2016 does not start with unnecessary stress.

Many entrepreneurs are passionate about their chosen trade but aren’t always strong when it comes to the financial side of business.

It is the little things that people often forget about. Simple things, like cash flow and budget that can make all the difference.

The following 10 tips would make sure business owners cover all their bases and have a successful 2016.

1)      Budget for the year ahead

2)      Understand your business and its customers

3)      Analyse your monthly management accounts

4)      Keep your accounts and taxes up to date

5)      Secure your IP/IPR

6)      Know your limitations

7)      Invest in good legal and accountancy experts

8)      Build revenue streams with trusted relationships – no matter how small

9)      Invest in cash recovery experts

10)   Take a holiday and exercise every now and then

If you follow the tips you will see the benefits returned ten-fold.

Do we know what we want?

2014-09-13-looking_at_ocean_thumb (1)I have been discussing the subject deeply with a very good friend of mine, ‘do people actually know what they want, the subject is actually deeper, do we know our life purpose?

“Know thyself” has been a dictate since the time of the ancient Greeks, but Thoreau’s statement speaks to the difficulty of such a task. As it turns out, there are some things about ourselves that are very hard to perceive accurately. In some instances, others know us better than we know ourselves

Everybody wants what feels good. Everyone wants to live a carefree, happy and easy life, to fall in love and have amazing sex and relationships, to look perfect and make money and be popular and well-respected and admired and a total baller to the point that people part like the Red Sea when you walk into the room.

If I ask you, “What do you want out of life?” and you say something like, “I want to be happy and have a great family and a job I like,” it’s so ubiquitous that it doesn’t even mean anything.

Everybody wants to have an amazing job and financial independence but not everyone wants to suffer through 60-hour work weeks, long commutes, obnoxious paperwork, to navigate arbitrary corporate hierarchies and the blasé confines of an infinite cubicle hell. People want to be rich without the risk, without the sacrifice, without the delayed gratification necessary to accumulate wealth.

Everybody wants to have great sex and an awesome relationship  but not everyone is willing to go through the tough conversations, the awkward silences, the hurt feelings and the emotional psychodrama to get there. And so they settle. They settle and wonder “What if?” for years and years and until the question morphs from “What if?” into “Was that it?” And when the lawyers go home and the alimony check is in the mail they say, “What was that for?” if not for their lowered standards and expectations 20 years prior, then what for?

Because happiness requires struggle. The positive is the side effect of handling the negative. You can only avoid negative experiences for so long before they come roaring back to life.

24007-life-without-purpose-is-like-a-body-without-soulPeople want to start their own business or become financially independent. But you don’t end up a successful entrepreneur unless you find a way to appreciate the risk, the uncertainty, the repeated failures, and working insane hours on something you have no idea whether will be successful or not.

People want a partner, a spouse. But you don’t end up attracting someone amazing without appreciating the emotional turbulence that comes with weathering rejections, building the sexual tension that never gets released, and staring blankly at a phone that never rings. It’s part of the game of love. You can’t win if you don’t play.

What determines your success isn’t “What do you want to enjoy?” The question is, “What pain do you want to sustain?” The quality of your life is not determined by the quality of your positive experiences but the quality of your negative experiences. And to get good at dealing with negative experiences is to get good at dealing with life.

There is a great quote by Marla Gibbs “I truly believe that everything that we do and everyone that we meet is put in our path for a purpose. There are no accidents; we’re all teachers – if we’re willing to pay attention to the lessons we learn, trust our positive instincts and not be afraid to take risks or wait for some miracle to come knocking at our door

I think most people retain at least a glimmer of awareness of their life’s purpose within their inner being. It often feels like a leaning, an inclination, that continues to pull at you. Sometimes is right in front of your eyes but you don’t allow yourself to see it, like when you’re hunting for your missing keys and then discover that they’ve been right in front of you the whole time. For example, an investment advisor found himself doing more and more work with charity organisations. He finally realised that what he felt most in sync with was hands-on work helping people. That was the part he enjoyed about his work, not the money managing per se. Helping people was his true calling, and it was staring him in the face the whole time.

Those who experience a clear inclination but don’t pursue or fulfil it remain incomplete and dissatisfied. But it’s important not to confuse seeking happiness with finding your purpose. Happiness is what you experience in the daily flow of life the highs and lows that are the situation. They will fluctuate. But purpose is deeper. It’s more of an underlying sense of peace and fulfilment overall, a sense of integration and continuous unfoldment of your being. It transcends everyday ups and downs, the disappointments or successes, even. When you’re living in accordance with your life’s purpose, you view all of the above as part of what you encounter along the road. They don’t distract you from that larger vision, your ideal, which is like a magnet steadily pulling you towards it

In the end, figuring out what you want and your life purpose isn’t an easy process and no miraculous  solution exists for doing it. The fact is, you need to think about it, and to do so you might need to push yourself through some mental challenges until you figure out exactly what is you’ve been looking for, and just maybe your life purpose will find you.

Finally, be careful what your dream for, it may just arrive into your life!

Can a Blue Moon’ really affect our behaviour and emotions?

SAM_1235I personally just love Blue Moon’s. I was excited by the Blue Moon that occurred on July 31st this year, the moon’s vibrancy, mystical movement and amazingly strong energy, apparently and according to the astrologers this year’s Blue Moon was in Aquarius which explains a lot about my excitement, but exactly what is a Blue Moon and how does it affect us in everything we do?

Whether you believe astrology, it has guided life for 5,000 years. I say guiding because the ancient Babylonians, and later the Greeks used the star filled Mediterranean sky to navigate and bring their ships safely home. Over time the ancients began to notice patterns on earth that corresponded to heavenly patterns and planetary movement. Eclipses were particularly significant. Imagine the effect of seeing the sun darken mid-day (solar eclipse) or the Moon’s beams dimmed (lunar eclipse).This was surely a message.

So this brings us to the Blue Moon. This occurs when there are two full moons in a single month.

There was a full moon July 1 and there was one on July 31. This calendar occurrence does not happen every year. There were blue moons in 2011 and 2014; the next series will be in 2017. When the lunar energies are so concentrated we can expect heightened emotions, agitation and dramatic actions. It is true. The full Moon brings out all of our emotions. We howl. Ancient doctors avoided surgery at the full Moon because they observed an increased chance of haemorrhage. On the other hand, it is said that those wanting to start a family can use the power of the moon; it is supposed to be a very good time to conceive.

Experts say, all full moons bring us in touch with our emotions, our sensitivities and our inner-selves.

When we are in tune with the natural energetic currents of nature, we can combine our own energy forces so that we have an extra surge, which helps to push us in the right direction.

Apparently and according to experts, everything from our past is about to be illuminated and areas that desperately need focusing on will be brought to our attention and during this blue moon, there will be no looking away.

We will meet with certain issues that have haunted us face-to-face and rather than being fearful, we should see this as an excellent chance for growth and transformation.

So with all this extra energy, we will deal with all our current issues, not fear the unknown, progress with confidence and our dreams and intentions will become reality– amazing!

SAM_1219Can something so powerful as the Blue Moon, really be the catalyst for so much change, transformation and success?

There is a famous quote:

“You have no control over how your story begins or ends. But by now, you should know that all things have an ending. Every spark returns to darkness. Every sound returns to silence. Every flower returns to sleep with the earth. The journey of the sun and moon is predictable. But yours, is your ultimate art.”

~ Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

The legend of the full moon’s effects on human behaviour has existed for centuries, popularised by the myth of the werewolf. The words “lunacy” and “lunatic” are derived from the same Latin root that gives us the word “lunar,” as people often attributed intermittent insanity to the phases of the moon. While many people believe the full moon influences behaviour, scientific studies have found very little evidence supporting the “Lunar Effect.”

So with all the world’s scientific research, what makes the full moon lunacy theory still so popular?

Perhaps it’s the media, who know people are more likely to read a good story, as one of my colleagues said we can always blame it on the moon?. Or maybe people just want to hold onto an ancient legend that’s been around for hundreds of years?

A more scientific answer may be selective memory. If some bizarre change in behaviour across emotions, work or family caused a confidence occurrence, people are probably more likely to remember it if it happened during the night of a full moon.

What are your stories around the Blue Moon, I would love to hear if something miraculous happened on Friday July 31st?

Do we embrace fear or fight fear?

meaningful-lifeA very good friend of mine was discussing films with me a few weeks ago, whilst I am not a huge digital streaming guy for films, I still can be quite old-fashioned and be known for ordering the occasional DVD from Amazon, after some time. My friend convinced me that I really should see the film Peaceful Warrior.

The story is about a young gymnast Dan Millman played by Scott Mechlowicz, and his struggle to make sense of his life in which he is successful but still unfulfilled. By chance he meets his “Yoda”/Shaolin priest/Boss Paul who helps him “git his head straight” after which he goes on to be comfortable with his athletic prowess albeit not exactly Olympic caliber. When one is successful, one does not have the time and patience to look back or forward. Dan is leading his life in chase of a dream – to get a gold in the Olympics. He and his coach knows that he is the best, but still inside he too knows that something is missing. It was in one of his sleepless nights that he meets a petrol pump attendant who changes his life – step by step. He also realizes the change but he is not ready to let go the garbage within him. As the petrol pump attenders says “I call myself a Peaceful Warrior… because the battles we fight are on the inside.”

The movie takes a u turn when Dam meets with an accident – where his leg bone just shatters, it is not only the leg that breaks but also his heart to go forward for his only love, the Olympics.”A warrior does not give up what he loves, he finds the love in what he does.” Socrates(as Dam calls him), the petrol pump attendant teaches the guy to find his long-lost love and dream. But towards the end he finds the hard truth that Socrates was a illusionist character – whose sole purpose of life was to take Dan to his dream and make him prepared to win the battle within him. This is almost a “Rocky IX” type movie with a wonderful happy ending.

Have you thought that through within your own life?

fear-of-failureMany people are afraid of the thought of change without having change in their life. We all have our own examples of how fear can be such a huge, impenetrable barrier.  Fear…some would rather bury it, walk around it, build bridges over it, cover it with medication or another substance, stay busy to deny it, ignore it, avoid it by staying within a box rather than name it, or even embrace it joyfully.

As children we were told to always fight. Always resist ‘bad situations’. Shake them off. Be happy. Always feel good, taking the positive from everything we do.

That is impossible, although Audrey Hepburn did once say ‘impossible is I’m possible’. We all feel the negative end of emotions. And that’s just the way things were supposed to be as humans. Without the negative end, we wouldn’t be able to feel the positive end of emotions. No one wants to float in the neutral zone all the time, life would lose all meaning and we would all be walking aliens.

Anxiety is one of those negative emotions. It stems from fear and then leads to stress. Usually fear of the future. And fear stems from the mind, from our thoughts.

Imagine what would be possible if you embraced fear and considered it to be one of your greatest teachers in adversity? If you resist fear or react when you feel fear, then you cannot learn from it or even recognise any lessons that would contribute to your continued evolution. And if you are not learning from it, then you can’t look at the fear as something that can be reframed into a positive opportunity to grow and change.

So, if you want to accelerate your success and make better choices in your life both personally and professionally, embrace your fears rather than avoid or ignore them. Only then are you able to distinguish between the facts and the negative assumptions of what may be. Now, compound this with embracing your vulnerability. I am not referring to being vulnerable as in putting yourself in harms way but being vulnerable is in being authentic and human. And if you start embracing your fears, your worries and your vulnerability that every person’s ego has tendency to shy away from, then what else can stop you? Nothing. You have broken the fear based paralysis that keeps you stuck in one place and the grip that fear had on you. This is your success formula for becoming unstoppable.

Key tips for overcoming fear:

  • Make fear your ally rather than your adversary so that you can learn and grow from it.
  • Top executives have learned what average executives fail to learn; to embrace their fears and do what needs to be done anyway.
  • Things rarely happen the way we worry about them.
  • That you fear is not real.
  • Identify the indisputable facts surrounding every situation so that you can make an objective decision based on what truly is, rather than what you think is true but is not.
  • Determine your healthy and pleasurable fuel source to ignite your passion and drive your activity and efforts.
  • You are the greatest gift you can give to your prospects/customers and team, as well as the best-kept secret, so let it out!
  • Fears and dreams are only possibilities that are constructed in your imagination.
  • Bring yourself and your thinking back into the present moment. Since that which we fear lives in the future, the fear can’t get to you in the moment.
  • Shift your focus to the outcome that you do want to create or manifest instead of what you don’t want or what you want to avoid.

In human terms, this is what we call healing emotional trauma. Coming to grips with what makes our perceptions distort certain dangers to the point that we experience helplessness, and healing this. Fortunately, it is possible to do so. It is possible to undo fear conditioning and to unlearn learned helplessness. But this can only happen once we face the actuality of the problem, instead of dismissing it as something we should be able to easily deal with, just as the film Peaceful Warrior demonstrated, if only we put a little more willpower, determination and conviction into it.

Can unforced errors happen in tennis and business?

Geoff playing tennisI recently watched the recent Wimbledon men’s tennis final between Federer and Djokovic, I enjoyed the final immensely. The final triggered memories of a book that I read many years that totally inspired me by W. Timothy Gallwey, called the Inner Game of Tennis.

The Inner Game of tennis is that which takes place in our mind, played against such elusive opponents as nervousness, self-doubt and lapses of concentration. It is a game played by our mind against its own bad habits. Replacing one pattern of behaviour with a new, more positive one is the purpose of the “Inner Game”.

Peak performance at tennis, like any sport, only comes when our mind is so focused that it is still and at one with what our body is doing. The key to the “Inner Game” and better tennis is achieving this state of relaxed concentration so that we are playing “out of our mind” and therefore no worrying about how, when or where to hit the ball.

Whilst the Inner Game of Tennis explores how to overcome mental obstacles, improve concentration and reduce anxiety for better performance at every level. There is no physical reason why this cannot be applied to business. The Inner Games of sport approach makes all the difference.

I personally enjoy tennis with a passion, tennis is a challenging sport, which can really test your fitness and skill levels, it requires:

  • Skill and knowledge
  • Patience and tolerance
  • Movement and varying levels of power
  • Perseverance and determination
  • Strategy and a game plan

businessman-playing-tennis-hitting-balls-35797650How Business and Tennis are similar…

In an article entitled “7 Worst Career Mistakes You Can Make”, Jeffrey A. Krames, author “The Unforced Error: Why Some Managers Get Promoted while others Get Eliminated” quotes Tim Gallwey and on of the principles of The Inner Game. Here is the quote:

“Tennis and business have a lot more common than you may think. In 1982, a tennis professional coined the term “unforced error” to describe what happens when one player who is in position to return the ball makes an error by hitting the ball out of the field of play — or missing the ball altogether. That same kind of error happens all of the time in the business world.”

Research shows that even the smartest managers make the worst career errors. Once again, the same is true in tennis. Even the best players in the world make unforced errors in every match. In professional tennis as in business, the player with the fewest unforced errors usually wins.

Research also shows that at the top levels of corporations unforced errors have taken a greater toll than ever before. For example, CEO turnover is up 60 percent between 2005 and 2014 and shows no signs of slowing down (that according to a Booz Allen). However, you do not have to be a CEO to make a costly unforced error.

In my international career of 20 years I have seen numerous unforced errors and from some of the smartest executives in business, what are your experiences?