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Monday, 21 November 2016

6 Ways To be More Financially Independent

We all want to have more money in our pocket, more for the things that are important and for most of us, the security of knowing we can pay our bills, take care of ourselves and our family and have a little put by for when we are old.
In this age of consumerism, it is easy for your money to slip through your fingers without you even realising it. And banks and retailers are making it ever easier for you to spend small amounts every day which over time make a huge hole in your budget.
So in a society that is geared up to make you spend money, how do you maintain a grasp on your finances? How do you ensure that you are getting ahead rather than falling behind?

Cash Is King

Whilst it is highly likely in years to come that we will live in a completely cashless society, for now carrying cash is one of the best ways to keep tabs on your spending. Give yourself an allowance on a daily, weekly or monthly basis and draw out your chosen amount in cash. Having folding notes in your wallet lets you keep track of exactly what you are spending and how quickly it disappears. Keep your receipts to go through each week so you can get a handle on where you money goes and rather than adjusting your allowance, have a look at ways you can reduce your spending. Giving yourself a strict limit and sticking to it, is a great way to ensure you have money for the important things in life.

Loose Change Can Be A Goldmine

Its surprising how much coinage we carry around with us each day. Your pocket jingles when you walk and you have difficulty closing your purse due to the mass of change that follows you everywhere. We often overlook this small potential nest egg as we bring out another note to pay for our purchases. But all that change adds up to a lot of money over time.
If every day when you arrive home, you empty your pockets or wallet of loose change and put it in a bowl in the kitchen, you will be astonished at how much will accumulate. You will not become super rich overnight but its a great way to put money by for your longer term goals. You might even get a ‘free’ holiday out of it in a couple of years!

The No Interest Credit Card

Having a credit card is a great way to improve your credit rating and earn loyalty points. All too often though, we see a credit card as an easy way to enjoy what we want right now but interestingly the opposite can be true. The joy of your purchase is overshadowed by the stress of meeting the monthly payments on top of your existing expenses. And not only that, but the sky high interest payments mean you end up paying far more than you would have had you had saved the same amount of money and bought when you could pay for it outright.
The key to maximising the benefits of your credit card is to pay it off every month ensuring your credit rating is excellent and gathering your loyalty points without the additional interest costs. If you cannot pay in full for something within the next 30 days - don’t buy it. Put the money you would have spent on credit card payments away and purchase when you have the funds together. Not only will you enjoy your purchase when you get it but the anticipation will give you a thrill. Saving for something gives you a huge sense of pride and achievement which far outweighs the instant buzz of having it now when you really can’t afford it.

The Business Of Bills

Household bills take a huge chunk of your income and although they are essential there are ways to take control of these expenses and keep them to a minimum. Life is so busy that we usually don’t make the time to look at our monthly bills, setting up an automatic payment system and letting them run. But the price of commodities changes all the time and in most cases your supplier will not pass these savings on to you.
It may not feel like its worth the hassle but if you make the time to shop around, you could very well find an alternate supplier who will offer you a better deal. Over the course of a year the savings could pay for a holiday or that new television or tablet you are yearning for. Why give money away to big business when you can enjoy it yourself?

Retirement Ready

If you are currently working for an employer you will no doubt be paying into some form of pension/retirement scheme. But do you know where you money is going? With so many different providers, each having different terms and conditions which may or may not give you exactly what you need or expect in years to come, taking the time to check out your current provider to ensure that you are investing your money in the future you want is well worth the effort.

Health Wise

One of the simplest ways to save potential money is to take care of your health. Whilst none of us can predict our future, focusing on wellness is a great way to protect not only your long term enjoyment of life but also your financial health. Invest some of the money you save by reducing expenses into a nutrition plan and exercise gear. Whether you are a gym bunny or love the fresh air, take steps today toward better health and watch your money grow. You will become more efficient, more productive and better able to take responsibility for your future. It could be the best investment you will ever make.
The key to Financial Independence is in taking responsibility for the management of your money. There are likely to be holes in your pockets that can be mended with just a little time and effort on your part.

Why Personal Development Is Vital For Success

There is only one person who is responsible for your success and that person is you. So if you’ve got to a certain point in your career or your business and you feel like you’ve hit the ceiling of what is possible, think again.

"The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result" - Albert Einstein

Smart man Mr Einstein!

And here’s what another smart and hugely successful man had to say on the subject.

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” - Henry T Ford

What is the key message in these quotes?

That doing the same thing will produce the same result.

(Archimedes, another very smart man said this when the truth of a situation dawned on him)

Okay, got it!

But how does this apply to you?

Lets say you want a different outcome from your current reality.

Perhaps you want to be promoted.
Maybe you want to make more money.
Or perhaps, you want to take your business to the next level.

You’ve tried everything you know how to do but nothing seems to work.

There is only one thing left to do … something DIFFERENT!
Here’s Mr Einstein again:

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them” - Albert Einstein

Knowledge is power but your current understandings will only take you so far.

To go beyond your current reality, beyond your existing results, you must learn something new.

But you already know this, right?

If you’re a driven and already successful person, you’ve probably invested in your education.
You’ve probably undertaken every up-skilling course within your chosen industry.
You’ve probably engaged in self-learning to expand your knowledge

“What else can I do?”, you might ask
Are you ready for another Eureka moment?

If your success is completely dependent on you, then the one thing you must work on, is YOU.

“Success is not dependent on what you know but on who decide to become” - Allanah Hunt

What makes the most successful people in the world different from the rest?

Why do some people seem to find gold everywhere they look whilst others only find a dead end?

It’s who they have trained themselves to be

It’s the daily habits they have cultivated

In short … its Personal Development

Food & Exercise

Moving your body, moves your mind. Imagine your body as a huge network of electrical circuits. For best results you must keep the conductors polished, the wires clean and the pathways clear. If any of the conduits become blocked or inhibited, the supply of power and the efficiency of the machine are impacted.

The same is true for you. If your body is not finely tuned and provided with the correct fuel, your mind will not work as efficiently and powerfully as it could.

In the same way that updating a circuit board in a computer hard-drive supplies new messages to the software, learning new concepts and acting on them requires a clear path for delivery. Acting differently on a consistent basis involves a change at a cellular level. You cannot receive a new message whilst your electrical pathways are inhibited.


Your conscious mind is a constant hive of activity. It is like a probe that is continuously searching for information, digesting and cataloguing everything it sees. And it does a great job of keeping you organised.

However, your real power lies in your deeper levels of consciousness. Your subconscious and your unconscious mind hold everything you inherently understand about the world and your place within it. These levels drive your behaviour, they provide your motivation and they tell your conscious mind what to look for.

Meditating daily connects you with the wisest and best parts of yourself. It allows you to access the reasons you do what you do and allows you to alter your programming for greater success.

All the most successful people in the world add meditation to their daily practice.

Finding Your Motivation

What is your true motivation for doing what you do? Why do you want to be more successful?

Getting clear on what motivates you can be mean the difference between mediocre and magnificent.

If your motivation is to receive validation from others, to be ‘seen’ as successful, to feel more important and improve your sense of self-worth, then eventually you will become exhausted and demoralised when people fail to recognise your achievements.

For you to push through what you already understand, you must find a motivation from deep within yourself.

It must be a non-negotiable.
It must be important enough to drive your behaviour.
It must matter at your deepest core
A great way to discover this is to write two lists.
List One - What will happen when I achieve my goals
List Two - What would happen if I don’t achieve my goals

It is usually the second list that really helps you get clear about what success means to you.

Goal Setting

Goal setting is more than having an idea of what you would like to achieve.

It’s a road map. It is a blueprint for building upon.

Your goals must be concise, clear, achievable and realistic. You must put numbers and timescales around them, specific measurable parameters which you can chart and implement.

And without clear goals, you will never achieve the success you desire.

Failure to plan is planning to fail” - Benjamin Franklin


You can never go beyond what you believe is possible for you.

It’s not enough to say the words, to pay lip-service to what you want to achieve. You must develop and cultivate a vision for your life, a vision for your success that is as real to you as breathing.

If someone else can do it, why can’t you?

Self-belief is at the core of every achievement, every successful endeavour and without it, you might as well sit on your hands and save yourself the effort.

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” - Yoda

When your self-belief is strong, when it is real and tangible, success is the natural byproduct.

We all know that success takes work. We know that dedication and tenacity are key drivers of success. But these on their own will not deliver the results you are looking for.

We all know people who work hard, are dedicated and tenacious and yet they never achieve the success they desire, and no doubt deserve. They often become bitter and resentful for others’ success and give up on their dreams.

Don’t let that be you.

Follow instead the men and women who have found success. The ones who have had the courage to look at themselves in the mirror, to be honest about who they are and what they want and who have done whatever they needed to, to follow the path to success.

Go beyond your conscious mind and discover the truth about yourself. Add to your understanding, reprogram your thoughts and change your behaviour.

Only then will you uncover your true potential.

Only then will you see the results you want, show up around you.

Only by doing something differently can you alter your current reality.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid

For all the time executives spend concerned about physical strength and health, when it comes down to it, mental strength can mean even more. Particularly for entrepreneurs, numerous articles talk about critical characteristics of mental strength—tenacity, “grit,” optimism, and an unfailing ability as Forbes contributor David Williams says, to “fail up.”

However, we can also define mental strength by identifying the things mentally strong individuals don’t do. Over the weekend, I was impressed by this list compiled by Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker,  that she shared in LifeHack. It impressed me enough I’d also like to share her list here along with my thoughts on how each of these items is particularly applicable to entrepreneurs.

1.Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves. 

You don’t see mentally strong people feeling sorry for their circumstances or dwelling on the way they’ve been mistreated. They have learned to take responsibility for their actions and outcomes, and they have an inherent understanding of the fact that frequently life is not fair. They are able to emerge from trying circumstances with self-awareness and gratitude for the lessons learned. When a situation turns out badly, they respond with phrases such as “Oh, well.” Or perhaps simply, “Next!”

2. Give Away Their Power. 

Mentally strong people avoid giving others the power to make them feel inferior or bad. They understand they are in control of their actions and emotions. They know their strength is in their ability to manage the way they respond.

3. Shy Away from Change. 

Mentally strong people embrace change and they welcome challenge. Their biggest “fear,” if they have one, is not of the unknown, but of becoming complacent and stagnant. An environment of change and even uncertainty can energise a mentally strong person and bring out their best.

4. Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control. 

Mentally strong people don’t complain (much) about bad traffic, lost luggage, or especially about other people, as they recognize that all of these factors are generally beyond their control. In a bad situation, they recognize that the one thing they can always control is their own response and attitude, and they use these attributes well.

5. Worry About Pleasing Others. 

Know any people pleasers? Or, conversely, people who go out of their way to dis-please others as a way of reinforcing an image of strength? Neither position is a good one. A mentally strong person strives to be kind and fair and to please others where appropriate, but is unafraid to speak up. They are able to withstand the possibility that someone will get upset and will navigate the situation, wherever possible, with grace.

6. Fear Taking Calculated Risks

A mentally strong person is willing to take calculated risks. This is a different thing entirely than jumping headlong into foolish risks. But with mental strength, an individual can weigh the risks and benefits thoroughly, and will fully assess the potential downsides and even the worst-case scenarios before they take action.

7. Dwell on the Past. 

There is strength in acknowledging the past and especially in acknowledging the things learned from past experiences—but a mentally strong person is able to avoid miring their mental energy in past disappointments or in fantasies of the “glory days” gone by. They invest the majority of their energy in creating an optimal present and future.

8. Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over. 

We all know the definition of insanity, right? It’s when we take the same actions again and again while hoping for a different and better outcome than we’ve gotten before. A mentally strong person accepts full responsibility for past behavior and is willing to learn from mistakes. Research shows that the ability to be self-reflective in an accurate and productive way is one of the greatest strengths of spectacularly successful executives and entrepreneurs.

9. Resent Other People’s Success. 

It takes strength of character to feel genuine joy and excitement for other people’s success. Mentally strong people have this ability. They don’t become jealous or resentful when others succeed (although they may take close notes on what the individual did well). They are willing to work hard for their own chances at success, without relying on shortcuts.

10. Give Up After Failure. 

Every failure is a chance to improve. Even the greatest entrepreneurs are willing to admit that their early efforts invariably brought many failures. Mentally strong people are willing to fail again and again, if necessary, as long as the learning experience from every “failure” can bring them closer to their ultimate goals.

11. Fear Alone Time. 

Mentally strong people enjoy and even treasure the time they spend alone. They use their downtime to reflect, to plan, and to be productive. Most importantly, they don’t depend on others to shore up their happiness and moods. They can be happy with others, and they can also be happy alone.

12. Feel the World Owes Them Anything. 

Particularly in the current economy, executives and employees at every level are gaining the realization that the world does not owe them a salary, a benefits package and a comfortable life, regardless of their preparation and schooling. Mentally strong people enter the world prepared to work and succeed on their merits, at every stage of the game.

13. Expect Immediate Results. 

Whether it’s a workout plan, a nutritional regimen, or starting a business, mentally strong people are “in it for the long haul”. They know better than to expect immediate results. They apply their energy and time in measured doses and they celebrate each milestone and increment of success on the way. They have “staying power.” And they understand that genuine changes take time. Do you have mental strength? Are there elements on this list you need more of? With thanks to Amy Morin, I would like to reinforce my own abilities further in each of these areas today. How about you?

What Element Are You?

Psychologists use all sorts of tests to determine your personality, your predominant way of processing information and the way you see the world. 

Many tests are used by employers to help them decide if you have the qualities they are looking for in the person they hire to do a particular job. Having a good knowledge of your own personality can also help you decide the best career path as well as giving you some insight into the areas you could work on to improve your experience or play to your strengths.

Just for fun but I found it surprisingly accurate!

Friday, 23 October 2015

The Hidden Potential Of You!

I was looking at a picture of an iceberg the other day and it reminded me of an analogy I once heard. 

Human potential is like an iceberg - what you see on the surface is nothing compared to what lies beneath.
What do we know about Icebergs?

An iceberg is a large mass of free-floating ice that has broken away from a glacier. Beautiful but potentially dangerous, icebergs are made up of freshwater ice, pieces of debris, trapped bubbles of air and they wander over the ocean until they melt.

An iceberg floats because it is less dense than the sea water that surrounds it and in fact 80-90% of an iceberg sits below the waterline. Most people have heard the story, or watched a film about Titanic, the ship which on its maiden voyage struck an iceberg which caused catastrophic damage and ended the levels of over 1500 people. The reason the Titanic was destroyed had nothing to do with the iceberg that was visible above the waterline and everything to do with what was hidden beneath.

Scientists say that at most we use 10% of the capacity of our brain and therefore the available knowledge and possibility of human potential is 10 times that which we currently access. Imagine what we could discover, what we could do and what we could achieve if we increased our functioning by even 10%?

At an individual level we tend to think small. We create a vision of ourselves based upon the conditioning of society, our families, our education and our peers. Whatever is ‘acceptable or normal’ in the time of our growing up years, becomes the framework within which we live our lives. 

And yet, just like the iceberg which shows only a tiny part of itself to the world above the waterline whilst plunging the depths below, you too have a depth of potential you may never have explored. The face you show to the world, and more importantly the face you show to yourself is often nothing more than a reflection of the ideas, understandings and limitations of the people around you. 

Imagine if you had been born in a previous time. It wasn’t until the 6th Century that Pythagoras first suggested the earth was round. Prior to this, believe it or not, people looked to the horizon and assumed that the earth was flat. Needless to say they were not keen to sail too far in case they fell of the end of the planet. Now of course we all grow up with the understanding that our planet is a sphere which orbits around the sun. In the same way, once upon a time we had no idea of the size of an iceberg!

Just because something is the accepted way of thinking doesn’t necessarily make it the truth.

The same is true for you. Just because you have defined and limited yourself in a certain way doesn’t mean that you are correct. The picture you create of yourself and what is possible for you is exactly what your life will reflect. 

When an iceberg flips over it causes huge amounts of energy to be released. In fact scientists believe that a rolling iceberg may release as much energy as an atomic bomb and can cause a tsunami or even trigger an earthquake.

What if you too have the power to create a tsunami in your own life? What if everything you thought you knew about yourself if just the tip of the iceberg? What if you were to flip everything you know on its head and look again. What might you see then?

Our brain has a need to categorise things, to put them into boxes as it is essentially a massive filing system. So as we go through life we form ‘measures’ with which we define the people and happenings around us. 

If I say the word success, you will immediately have a picture of what success looks like to you. I can guarantee that the person next to you will have a different definition but the one you create for yourself is the one that governs this part of your life. 

To illustrate the power of this let me give you some questions to ask yourself. The answers to these questions will allow you to see the definition you have formed around success.

If I was successful …

  • Where would I live?
  • How much money would I make a year?
  • What car would I drive?
  • What would my partner look like?
  • What lifestyle would I have?
  • What would my relationships look like?
  • What would I be wearing?
  • What would I look like?
  • How happy would I be?
  • Who would my friends be?

For some people the answers to these questions spurs them on to great achievement. But for most, the definition of success is so far away from how you see yourself now that it erodes your confidence and undermines any feeling of self-worth.

So we push the idea of success to the back of our mind and settle for less than what we deserve, less than what we are capable of and become nothing more than the tip of the iceberg.

There is more within you than you know. Perhaps its time to change your measure of success and define it in a way that is achievable for you. Maybe then, you will discover the depth of your potential that lies just beneath the face you see in the mirror.

Monday, 19 October 2015

The Entrepreneurial Suffragette

Yesterday my partner and I went to see the newly released film, Suffragette, featuring Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep. As the first dramatisation of the fight for votes for women in UK, this film explores the story of a small group of women who joined the movement and followed Emmeline Pankhurst in her dedication to the cause of equal rights for women. 

Set at the beginning of the 20th Century the film follows the life of Maud Watts who inadvertently becomes caught up in the Suffragette movement when she decides to support a friend. What starts as a reluctant association becomes a burning passion as she experiences first hand the pain of a world whose laws are made by and centred on the needs of men. At this time in history, women had no rights over property, their own desires or even the needs of their children. They were completely and absolutely at the mercy of the men in their lives; their father, their husband and their employer.

Although this film shows only a small part of the long running fight to change the laws of the land and allow women to vote for those who would govern them, the spirit of these women shines through strongly. Their willingness to sacrifice for what they believed in, their determination to follow through no matter what the personal cost and their absolute belief that they would win is inspirational. 

Eventually after more than fifty years of striving, UK women were finally given the vote in 1918. 

It seems inconceivable in 2015 (almost 100 years later) that the freedoms we take for granted today were fought so hard for, by so few. Whilst history honours these women as pioneers of their time, their reality was a harsh one. Ostracised by their peers, condemned and spat upon by their neighbours, abused and discarded by their men, these women paid a high price for our freedom.

As women in the 21st Century we are raised in the understanding that we will attend school and be educated, that we can follow our own career path and that we have the ability to decide what is right for each of us. 

Some of the changes which have occurred over the past 97 years include:

right to an education
right to equal pay for equal work
right to legal advice
right to our own money
ability to decide what is right for our children
ability to stand for parliament
wider access to previously male dominated career paths
introduction of birth control
sexual harassment is now a crime
women can no longer by fired for becoming pregnant
access to credit cards
access to university
choice to pursue a military career
ability to serve on a jury
right to vote
equality in the workplace

Whilst some of the points above are still in transition, in fact the rights and situation of a women has improved beyond all recognition particularly in the past fifty years. And as the years go by, more changes are being made which offer women, opportunities the suffragettes could never have dreamed of. We have women in some of the most powerful positions in government, in corporations, in the church and in business. 

More and more we see the rise of entrepreneurial women who to me embody the self same spirit we admire so much in the suffragettes of times past. The willingness to sacrifice for what they believe in, their determination to follow through no matter what the personal cost and their absolute faith in their ability to create whatever it is they have the vision for. 

And yet, the brave and revolutionary ones, the ones who see opportunities and possibilities are still even now often treated with derision. Their peers who cling tightly to the understandings of their youth cannot see what they see, cannot believe what they believe and therefore cannot accept that change is as inevitable as it always has been. 

It is the pioneers, the brave, determined and creative who have always changed the world. 

In our time, this is largely led by women who will no longer be silent. Women who want more than their mothers had, want more for their daughters and who are prepared to step out, step up and to become a beacon for others to follow in exactly the way that the women of the suffragette movement did all those years ago.

That spirit, that desire that is within you is one that has existed in women throughout history. The spark which although in times past has been stamped, ridiculed and spat upon has remained true and bright within the few, despite the attempts of the many to snuff it out. The most influential women and role models of our time are all entrepreneurs in their own way.

Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Clara Barton, Martha Stewart, Anita Roddick, Arianna Huffington, J.K. Rowling, Diane Von Furstenberg, Elizabeth Arden, Coco Chanel, Emma Watson and many more. 

Each of these women has followed their own path to success. Many have failed numerous times but all have got back up and with determination and a vision beating in their breast, have triumphed over their fears, standing now on the shoulders of those women who long ago set in motion the tide of change which we in this time have the privilege to enjoy.

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