Strictly In Confidence


JLS (Photo credit: Beacon Radio)

I came across an interesting interview with Brian Tracy recently on the theme of building self-confidence.

To Brian’s way of thinking there are four keys to having self-confidence and being perceived in that way, to paraphrase:

First, focus on the goal you want

Second, maintain yourself in positive thinking state

Third, look for the good in situations

Fourth, look for the valuable lesson from situations

There are seemingly people in the public arena who are developing their self-confidence as well as those who appear more confident.  I wondered how applicable confidence-based perspectives would be to some trending news topics.

First, would Liverpool FC’s Luis Suarez find anger management even more helpful if he focused confidently on being the best striker he can be, without acting aggressively when challenged?

Secondly, would Jan Moir be a more celebrated Daily Mail columnist if she thought more positively about others’ efforts?

Thirdly, could looking forward to the next phase in their lives be any sweeter for the members of successful singing group JLS, once their final tour is complete?

Finally, could a discussion featured in the Guardian newspaper, about the nature and importance of good quality public services be more timely?

Starting. Stopping. Starting Again.

You have within you, right now, everything you...

You have within you, right now, everything you need to deal with whatever the world can throw at you. -Brian Tracy (Photo credit: deeplifequotes)

It is easy to start making progress and feeling good about achieving modest changes, then stop to admire the view.  Starting again and keeping going is a harder challenge.  Outstanding results are probably the product of a commitment to keeping going with a determination to achieve higher standards.


I was thinking about differing levels of commitment the other day as I came across the notes I wrote nine months ago on a client I worked with last summer.


My client was a woman considering career change options that would improve her work / life balance and allow her to grow as a person.  After two constructive sessions I was looking forward to a third discussion about what steps she was prepared to take to incrementally progress toward her goals.  From what the client said at the end of the second session she too was motivated to do more work next time.


However, for reasons unknown, my client wasn’t ready for that conversation.  In fact she wasn’t ready for any further contact.  I didn’t hear from her at the appointed time, or subsequently either time I offered her an alternate date for a fresh session.  Her silence was eloquent in itself.


I hope, when the time is right for her, she will find a supportive helper with whose assistance she can move forward.


I contrast that level of commitment to self-development to a seemingly narrow comment about succeeding in the music industry which the song-writer Cathy Dennis made recently.  Ms Dennis was addressing a music industry writers group, Basca, and The Institute of Contemporary Music in London.  On reflection her comment actually has a universal applicability I think.  Speaking about the inspiration necessary to get started and to keep going in the music world (and create hits for Kylie, the Sugababes, and Katy Perry along the way) she said:


‘If you believe in yourself you have to be prepared to knuckle down and put in the hours and really commit to what you want to do…[decision makers] told me I wasn’t right, I wasn’t good enough – and that was great for me because every time that happens you realise you are going to have to take control and do it for yourself’.


Perhaps it is easier to strive to attain outstanding results in a field which you are driven to operate within.  If you are trying out different options – to see which one fits – it might be harder to acknowledge things are not working out.  It must be daunting to hold your hand up and say, can I try something else, this isn’t working for me?.


So for me one of the three essentials on the client’s side of the coaching relationship (along with Clarity and Commitment) is Honesty.  You can only begin to take steps toward getting what you want – it seems to me – if you are clear about your goal (in true Brian Tracy fashion); committed to attaining it; and honest with yourself about how important it is to you.


‘Should I Stay, Or Should I Go?’

John Lewis DAF LF

John Lewis DAF LF (Photo credit: kenjonbro)

Nothing is certain in the world of work these days.  Staff are hanging on to their jobs to see whether the economy picks up over the next couple of years.  They certainly aren’t chopping and changing jobwise (to try something new), as they might do in less harsh times.

The Guardian reports that in the commercial sector at least one bouyant employer, the John Lewis Partnership, is able to award 17% bonuses, reflecting the good year they have just enjoyed.  I wonder how many staff there are likely to have itchy feet and to be looking for other jobs?

Equally, in the legal field at least one employee is looking to spread their wings, the Guardian’s work-blog confirms.  The employee has been head hunted through a recruitment firm.  Admittedly there have been redundancies in their existing firm, so they may be motivated to move away from an uncertain atmosphere, even though it features a good salary, flexibility and enjoyment too.

The advice offered to the would-be escapee below the article is varied.  Some comments basically say ‘stay’, some suggest the employee ‘go’.

My contribution is near the foot of the page (see comment from RogerAD).  It is based on:

–  the coaching adage that people are more motivated to move toward what they want, rather than away from what they don’t want.

– An element of Brian Tracy thinking too (the idea that successful people plan their lives and attain the goals they focus on).

– A bit of personal curiousity, as I also wondered to what extent the job-change  reflected the escapee’s key work values (salary, flexibility, enjoyment).

What advice would you have offered?

Inside Out

According to government research, quoted by the Daily Mail recently, six out of ten offenders dealt with by the justice system return to crime within nine years.
Daily Mail coverage about tackling reoffending by mentoring

That must have a major impact on public finances (which bear the costs of policing and punishment); and peoples’ lives (both victims of crime and perpetrators).

No wonder then that acting for the government, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling is encouraging the growth of effective mentoring programmes, intended to keep ex-offenders from re-offending.  The Guardian newspaper documents the early stages of such a mentoring relationship. License: PublicDomain Keywords: people Author: AbiClipart Title: Magnifying Glass (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I believe that significant value could be added by skilled volunteers meeting the offender a year before their sentence ends and supporting them through establishing a coaching relationship.

The key would be the coach helping them look closely at the reality of their lives to date; identify positive future goals (in the same way that readers of Brian Tracy, Steven Covey, John Whitmore or Laura Berman-Fortgang would recognise); select the viable options they can pursue to attain them; develop the will take the first steps toward their future.

Undertaking that journey would establish strong foundations on which mentors and other positive external influencers could build, after release.

Hopefully mentoring is only one of the strategies which the government is going to support, to help offenders better manage the transition from life inside to their future beyond crime.

Sharing Your Goals (Or Not)

English: Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby and ...

English: Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby and Muckwork. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am chipping away at my 2012 ‘To Do’ list of Goals and Good Intentions.  Maybe you are too.

Perhaps you are actually speeding through your list, completing your tasks in less than the time you allocated yourself.

If that doesn’t sound like your experience there are several approaches you might take to get more done.

How about doing the grimmest item first (I think the approach is inspired by Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog principle)?

Alternatively it is tempting to focus on the essential items only.

You might even have thought the easiest motivator is to tell your partner, or best friend that you aim to do X task by Y date.  That pretty much ties your hands.

I’ve found a short TED presentation by Derek Sivers in which he offers his opinion on why that last solution may not actually help.  He also suggests how you might want to tackle more goals, successfully.

Good luck whichever route you choose.  Now, which vegetable goes better with an amphibian main course, rice or potatoes?