A day with no plans whatsoever

12.01.2014. Bliss!

I woke up this morning to a day of absolutely nothing planned and it felt great.

I, like many others have a tendency to fill my time up with commitments. But not today! And guess what?

I have had one of my most productive days in many months. Why do you think that is?

I’ve done things that I’ve been putting off for weeks, I taken some great photographs of my daughter, I’ve set up the Wii and PlayStation and spent time just playing games – not happy that I 10 year old daughter beat me at Football though!

I’ll have to schedule more days like this won’t I or does that defeat the object?

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50th celebrations

11.1.13. No not mine!

A friend whom I share a birthday with, celebrated his 50th in style, taking his family on a cruise through the Panama Canal. Last night he continued the celebrations with a fantastic private dinner at the Inn at Whitewell in Lancashire UK. What a great night. Great company, great food, great event. Simple, no fancy disco, lights how etc, just a group of 24 friends enjoying each other’s company.

It was certainly a long one, didn’t get to bed until 3 this morning, hence the delay in my daily post.

Pressure us on now to make my 50th equally as good.

Oh to be a West Ham fan!

8.1.2014. It’s semi final week of the Capital One cup, the second rate football trophy in the UK.

It’s had many names over the years. It started off as the League Cup, became the Milk cup, the Carling cup, the Littlewoods cup, all dependent on who is sponsoring the thing in any particular year.

This year, the semi finals are pitting the two big Manchester clubs against two smaller premier league teams, Utd against Sunderland and City against West Ham. The semis are played over two legs and this week has seen the first of those legs being played.

As a Utd fan, I’m disappointed that we are 2:1 down after the first leg, but how are the West Ham fans feeling after the game with City earlier tonight? They lost 6:0!

The funny thing (if you’re not a West Ham fan that is) is that in two previous times that they have been to the semi finals of this competition, they lost the first legs 5:0 and another 6:0. I was at the second of these games, because they were playing my home town team, Oldham Athletic and the great Frankie Bunn scored at least five of the goals.

To make matters worst this year, West Ham got knocked out of the FA cup at the weekend against Nottingham Forest. The score. Yes you’ve guessed it 5:0! At least they are consistent! Consistently bad!

Oh to be a West Ham fan!

How we learn.

7.01.2013. Following on from my post yesterday about Insights, I was intrigued by Seth Godin latest post – how to draw an owl.

Seth makes the point that in helping people to develop its not the showing that matters, it is the support that you provide afterwards that determines success. How you provide ongoing help and guidance, how you continue to educate them after they’ve started the process of learning, how you provide feedback and challenge them to do more.

In this information swamped world, I can absolutely guarantee that you can find information about what you need to do, but many people fail because they don’t have the support structure to help them achieve their desired success.

Personality profiles – how good can they be?

6.1.2014. First day back at work today and I’d scheduled a session for the team to review how they could better understand themselves and others and provide the inspiration for them to make a positive difference in everything they do. Sounds impressive!

The session was based on the Insights methodolodoly. In order to be an exceptional business with great leaders and dedicated employees, you need to work out your strengths – individually and as an organisation. Insights can help you strengthen internal and external relationships, improve teamwork and collaboration and be more innovative. Enough of their sales message!

I’ve done a number of similar activities in the past including Myers Briggs and the like. However I have to say that the outputs from Insights are the most accurate that I’ve come across. It sums me up perfectly! Very clever!

I enjoy these types of session, when you are learning what makes you tick, but more importantly what makes other people tick. Once you understand this, you can be much more effective in your communication. We all tend to communicate to other people in our language – describing things in a way that makes sense to us. However, if the other person is configured in a different way, then the message will be lost. Start to understand their configuration and adapt your language to their preferences and you’ll suddenly become far more effective.

That’s one of the challenges with a blog as a communication tool – it’s too ‘me to you’ rather than a conversation. I’d love to engage in a conversation so please do leave your comments.

Do you have a life plan?

5.1.2014. The last day of the holidays. Back to work/ school tomorrow and 2014 starts in earnest.

Today has been a funny day really. A mix of tidying up after the holidays and getting ready for the week ahead, as well as a little thinking time to ensure that my head is in the right place. I’m determined that 2014 will be my best year yet, the year that I make significant breakthroughs in my chosen fields, the year when I finally create my desired lifestyle.

I know what I need to do to achieve this. The trick will be to undertake these activities whilst living for today. I’ve been guilty in the past of living for tomorrow too much and not enjoying today. This is an interesting dilemma I think, and one I know I’ll be grappling with this year. How do you balance the delivery of your life plan yet live for today?

Most, if not all of my building blocks are now in place, so I’ve created a set of regular activities that I need to do each day/ week to ensure that I progress with my plan. However these are not onerous and should enable me to leave sufficient time to enjoy each day to the maximum.

Today has been such a day. I’ve taken some small steps required to move things forward with my plan, whilst spending time with my parents, enjoying my daughters stories of her day and chilling with the missus!

A long walk to freedom…

4.1.2013. Just got back from watching a great film, Mandela, a long walk to freedom.

We took our youngest daughter, not sure whether she would remain interested in what is a long film – her response on the way back – “what a great film”. I couldn’t say it better myself.

The story is well known but the film does well to pull over 50 years of history into 2.5 hours, keeping the momentum but creating some touching moments. The photography is great and made me feel that I need to put South Africa on the list of places to visit.

So, the question is whether it is an Oscar winning performance but then again what makes an Oscar winning performance? I think that the performance from Idris Elba is very good, very believable so he would certainly get my vote.

Back home and raring to go….

3.1.2014. We eventually travelled back home last night, avoiding the dreadful storms that have been battering the West of the UK, so that we could get everything straight before going back to work on Monday.

Today’s has been a great day – I’ve managed to get so much done. I’ve been working on a new website and had invested in some new technology the back end of last year. Yesterday, it all came together and I really started to get to grips with how the software works. Needless to say within 6 hours, I’d developed up a new site for MyGoalBook – it’s got a much fresher look now and fits well with the app.

After a chillax early evening, we sat back and watched one of our favorite TV series – Silent Witness, which started again this week. I gave to say, slightly disappointed with some of the acting if I’m honest but let’s see how things develop later in the series.

Busy weekend ahead, ferrying the children around to parties etc, but hopefully I’ll get the chance to get out on the bike soon – if not this weekend, certainly next.

A very frustrating day thanks to BT

2.1.2014. What a frustrating day it has been today!

It started well enough, woke up to beautiful sunny, calm conditions and managed to take some great photographs on our walk along the beach. However, we have been waiting for a BT engineer for over a week to repair our phone and broadband and today was the day that we expected him, anytime between 1-6pm. I find this AM/PM thing really inconsiderate – it just means that you are sitting around waiting -whatever happened to putting the customer first?

Anyway, although I’d informed BT that in reality, we needed an early afternoon appointment given that the problem was with the wiring and as we live in the country, after 4:30, there is no light, 4pm arrives and still no sign of the engineer. Unfortunately, as we are in a remote part of the country, we cannot get a mobile signal either, so I have to travel a mile or so in order to make any calls. After waiting on the phone for 20 minutes, BT eventually answer but are unable to provide an update, so say that they will continue to investigate and call me back within 5 mins – 30 mins later, still no call.

I eventually receive a message 45 mins later to say that the engineer will not be coming today and that they will call me tomorrow! Great service. Thank you BT.

Apologies for the rant today but it’s so bloody frustrating!

What do you want from 2014?

1.1.2014. A New Year, a new start, a new opportunity.

What does 2014 mean to you? For me, it’s all these things. It’s the chance to carry on the significant progress I made in 2013 to create the life that I desire. A life full of opportunity, a life full of fun, a life full of new experiences and a life full of laughter.

I’m really looking forward to realising this lifestyle in 2013. What this means is that I need to build my business development activities so that I have a team of people delivering our core consultancy offering, rather than being reliant on my time to deliver projects. In addition, I need to continue to develop and deliver my online business. This will result in me being location independent and allow me to follow my other passions of travel, photography and cycling.

We have already scheduled in some travel – we will be visiting Venice again in February and a tour of France in the summer. We also hope to take in New York at some stage so lots of photography opportunities – the 2014 photo book promises to be a cracker!

In terms of my cycling passion, I’m hoping to invest in an updated carbon fibre bike and take in another challenge – I’m looking at the Milan to Monaco or Paris – Nice rides, ahead of an attempt on the Lands End – John O’Groats ultimate challenge in 2015.