There is always baggage

Whether a company or an individual, our past often impacts how we respond today. 

This is why so many small businesses fail to make the leap to medium businesses and medium business struggle to become really big.

Growth demands change. Growth demands letting go of old ways so as to create new. 

Likewise, as people with baggage, we often learn a way to respond to a feeling which works well initially (it may have been in our childhood). Later in life we have the potential for a better response but don’t always take it, as it feels safer to hang onto our original way of doing things. 

The thing with baggage is that it becomes more of a problem when we do not acknowledge it. 

By owning up to baggage we give ourselves the potential to move beyond it. 

Unfortunately, pretending we don’t have baggage is the surest way to allow it to trip us up. 


Emotional baggage is being too scared to let go of an old response to a feeling despite knowing now there is a better way

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Closed questions

Will I find this career fulfilling?

Is this the right person to marry?

Should we do the deal or not?

These are all good questions, but limited. 

Shifting them from closed questions to open questions ramps up their power many times. 

What elements will make my career fulfilling?

What will being married to this person be like?

How does this deal fit into our overall strategy?

If the answers to our questions are limited to yes or no then we probably have defined them too narrowly.

Rewriting the big questions to provide more than a yes or a no opens us up to many more options.

Shifting a question from closed to open can open up a world of possibilities

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I don’t do politics

Yes you do.

Well ok unless you’re reading this alone while holed up in your retreat a hundred miles from civilisation. 

The moment two or more people get together we do politics.

You know those conversations. Where words, dressed up beautifully, are laced with toxic venom for the people who aren’t with us.

Even if we are just listening, we are giving credibility to the politicians.

We do not need to be the politician to be doing politics. 

We have a choice though. Do we stay and listen? Do we show up the cleverly disguised venom for what it is? Do we force the politician to say what she really means? Or invite the person who is the subject of the conversation to join us, forcing the politician to speak directly.

The question is not whether I do politics or not.

The question is, how do I do politics?

I don't do politics. Yes you do.

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What I want to be when I grow up

Was Woody Allen right in wishing to start life in an old age home, then commence work with a gold watch and finish it when he’s young enough to enjoy his retirement which involves becoming a kid, playing a lot and eventually ending life with an orgasm?

Maybe all those years spent as a kid thinking about what I would be when I grew up was the wrong time of my life to be asking those question.

Perhaps it makes more sense to ask as an adult, what did I do as a child that really excited me? Ignited my passion. Floated my boat.

As I kid I was dreaming about a future I knew nothing about. 

As an adult, I can dream of actual days that I have lived as a child.  

Days when I knew I was in the zone, doing what I loved, making a difference and loving life. Time passed effortlessly, I was both focused and felt free, my energy soared  

Maybe answers to the future lie in the past.

As Woody Allen said, it would be more fun to live life backwards.


That full Woody Allen quote about living his life backwards is: 

“In my next life I want to live my life backwards. You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old people’s home feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day. You work for 40 years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You party, drink alcohol, and are generally promiscuous, then you are ready for high school. You then go to primary school, you become a kid, you play. You have no responsibilities, you become a baby until you are born. And then you spend your last 9 months floating in luxurious spa-like conditions with central heating and room service on tap, larger quarters every day and then Voila! You finish off as an orgasm!” 

Perhaps it makes sense to ask as an adult, what did I do as a child that really excited me? Ignited my passion. Floated my boat. 

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How many moves ahead?

Garry Kasparov the famous chess grand master was once asked how many moves ahead he was able to see.

He answered that he could not necessarily “see” the game many moves ahead. 

In fact he said, “a player looking eight moves ahead [faces] as many possible games as there are stars in the galaxy.” ( collision detection

And he concluded that grand masters are really only concerned with the next move and making sure it is the best one.

We can apply the same thinking to our business or life strategies.

It’s useful to look far into the distance and dream, but it is the next move that really counts. 

Kasparov concluded that grand masters are really only concerned with the next move and making sure it was the best one.

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Dance to your own tune

Considering the number of books offering business, managerial, leadership, strategic, self help and other forms of advice, it is a wonder how we managed before they were around.

Funnily enough these books can be useful, just don’t follow them too closely. 

Read what they say, listen to the theories and the proposals for what you should do or think, and who and how you should be.

But then build your own theory.

Borrow from others.  But never believe their theories will work for you in the same way they work for them.

We all need to test and try and perfect our own theories for success.

Then perhaps we can write our own book.

Even if it is just for ourselves.

Borrow from others. But never believe their theories will work for you in the same way they work for them.

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The upside of rejected

Many people worry about pricing themselves too high and not closing the deal.

Being turned down for being too expensive is in fact a positive experience for your brand.

Thinking about the things you cannot afford will give you a sense of what it feels like to be on the other side of you when you are turned down for being too expensive.

[You may need to read the previous sentence twice]

I would rather have someone walking away saying they cannot afford me than being pleased that they have persuaded me to work on the cheap. 

That is of course only if what you have to offer is credible and valuable and you are not seen as a rip off.

The other side or rejected

 image source:

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Valuing yourself

A hangover from the industrial age is the idea that a salary is for a job which is for a long time.

Many people live in fear of losing their job.

They could instead be considering the value they bring to the organisations they inhabit on a daily basis. 

I remember, when I had a job, dividing my salary by 21 days and again by 8 hours to see how much I was worth an hour.

Or figuring out my annual pay as a reward for everything I did in the year.

It begs the question, ‘Am I worth it?’

These are fun ways to shake the paradigm that a job and a salary will always be there. 

A slightly harder question is ‘how much am I worth?’

Whether being paid by the hour, by the talk, by the session, by the day or by the deal, do we perhaps always gravitate to what we believe we are really worth?

Coming up with a figure can be the hardest question of all.

Many people prefer to be undervalued than to ask their true worth.

How much am I worth

Original image

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