Yep, this about sums it up!


Talent V Practice


BounceDo you believe you could do anything you want to?

Or do you believe some people have talents they are born with that go on to make them good at sport or art or origami?

I’m reading an interesting book called Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice by a guy called Matthew Syed who was a world championship table tennis player.  He challenges the idea of ‘talent’ instead suggesting that it’s practice that makes world champions and indeed anyone good at what they do.  And by practice we’re talking years of practice, 10,000 hours of practice in fact.

I’m only half way through it so I’m still quite sceptical still but it has got me thinking.  I’ve always believed I’m rubbish at sport but actually I’m quite good at accurately throwing and catching a ball.  And then I remembered how I used to spend hours and hours when I was a child hitting a ball against a wall at the side of the house.  But what I didn’t do was the same number of hours playing football, tennis, hockey or other sport.

I also thought I was rubbish at running… as evidenced by very poor school sports day performances!  A couple of years I started running and managed to build up to a 5k.  Not something that will set the world on fire but a personal achievement.  I then stopped for a year because of shin splints but I recently started again and did my first 5k faster than I did before, then my second one I did faster again.  I put this down to being fitter but could it be all the practice to get to that first 5k a few years ago was still in play?  What about the fact I knew I could do it now so I pushed myself harder?  Or a bit of both?

I don’t think the book is suggesting that anyone can do absolutely anything but it is saying that on an equal playing field the person that puts in the serious practice and hard work is the one that will excel.

I do like the idea that if you keep trying, keep focused and keep working hard that you will achieve what you want, it’s a just a matter of time.

It’s certainly given me something to think about and will no doubt continue to do so as I read more.

A bad review


one starIf you’re anything like me you always look at reviews before buying anything.  Reviews seem to be everywhere now including on a loaf of bread (if you order your shopping online like I do!)

I’ve seen a few programmes on TV recently about fake reviews, ones that are paid for.  Whilst I’ve no doubt this does go on, I actually think the biggest danger of reviews is that different people like different things so what Ms A likes a lot, Mr B doesn’t.  Neither is right, neither is wrong, they are simply a different opinion and based on a whole stack of unrelated factors not just the product or service the review is for.

We watched Monster University a couple of weeks a go, it was ok but I won’t be raving about it.  But some people have said it’s the funniest film ever.  Maybe I was having a bad day, maybe there was a long queue for popcorn, maybe I had someone kicking my seat through out the film.  Oh yes, all these were true!

I’m someone who likes to do things really well, I’m trying hard not to use the P-word!  And I do find criticism really hard to take but I do try and think of it like a bad review, it’s just someone’s opinion and influenced by all sorts of things.  So I didn’t get 5 stars this time, hopefully I will next time!

Trust your gut


intuitionGut instinct, intuition, a hunch, a feeling, sixth sense…  Whatever you call it I think that internal voice is worth listening to when it comes to your business.  In fact it is a studied and valid technique to make fast decisions.

I’m not a person that believes in ‘mumbo-jumbo’ but I don’t think that this falls into that category.  When you get a contribution from your internal voice I think it comes from your fundamental values which is at the root of who you are.  Even if you do a proper structured assessment of something weighing up all the risks and issues, pros and cons, it’s definitely worth allowing a contribution from your gut instinct.

How many times has your internal voice said something and been proved right?  Ignore at your peril, if it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t right.  Equally if it feels right then what’s stopping you?

I used to be a project manager so I’m used to applying full blown risk assessment techniques and so it’s easy for me to revert to over-engineering things.  However, it can be quite a big leap to trust your gut when you have no reason behind it.  Part of this is accepting that not everything is logical and sometimes you have to take that chance and go with it.  Yes, sometimes it won’t be right but sometimes it will be!

Seeking a friend for the end of the world


Have you watched this film?  I hadn’t until fairly recently and I absolutely loved it.  It’s about what you would do if you had just days left to live, when everybody had just days left to live.

There have been a few occasions this year when things that aren’t important have started to take over and one of my ways of coping has been to ask myself the question “Would I be worrying about this or spending any time or energy on it if I only had 6 months left in this world?” 

Okay slightly black and white as you can’t apply that question to things like paying into a pension but it does help to bring things into context quite sharply.  Sometimes you need a bit of jolt to stop blowing an issue out of proportion and realise it doesn’t actually matter that much.  Then you can rein in the amount of head space you’re giving something – or if it is something you still would be doing if you only had 6 month to live then at least you know it’s worth spending your energy on!

Sometimes you have to repeat the process as issues that take over are very good at not listening the first time! 

Try it and see if it works for you 🙂

Oh… and I recommend a watch of the film too! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1307068/





“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong  man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without
error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt

Love this quote, not much to add really 🙂

Dedicated to all the people out there doing not watching!


Shard View

Tower bridge, the Tower of London, HMS Belfast, City Hall and Canary Wharf in distance

Tower bridge, the Tower of London, HMS Belfast, City Hall and Canary Wharf in distance

Last weekend I was 1016ft up above London, previously only something you could have done in a helicopter but now you can take a lift that goes 6m a second up the Shard to get the most spectacular views of London.  Absolutely mesmerising pictures of the river, the railways, roads, tiny buses, cars and people.  As well as all the well known landmarks too many to do justice too!


Train tracks, never normally worth a photo!

I worked in London from 1990 to 2004 so I know some parts reasonably well, mostly by the river.  Seeing it all laid out makes you realise what a massive place it is and how I occupied such as small part of it, you can’t even see the edges!

This year I’ve been focussing on taking the same view of my business, I need to see all of it to appreciate the scale of it and ensure everything is functioning like it should.  You just can’t do that if you’re down working in one small part for any length of time.  When you run your own business this can be hard to achieve but every business owner must do it if they are to spot the problems, see the opportunities and manage the growth.

St Paul’s – Looks quite Italian in this photo!

So set aside a few hours, climb into that virtual high speed lift and go check out the view of your business from a very high point!

Harder than it looks


Don’t let anyone try and tell you that running your own business is easy, it’s a lot harder than it looks. There are many times, many days when it gets really tough. If you know someone who owns their own business they probably don’t tell you about the nightmare that is cashflow, credit control, employee recruitment and retention, dealing with the official paperwork and the evenings, weekends and holidays they are working to keep on top of everything. They probably just tell you the highs, that new contract, new product launch or big PR scoop. I know I do!

I love this cartoon because it’s so true! Although you can equally replace the word Success with Failure!


You might therefore ask why anyone bothers to have their own business if it’s that hard. What it does give you is your fate in your own hands, you make the decisions and you make things happen. You’re also building something and making a dream a reality. And for me I get to work when I want to.

The trick is have strategies to get through the hard times. I absolutely rely on the support of all these people…my business coach, my business partner, my team, network of other business owners and my family and friends. I share with all these people parts of the whole experience of running my business and get back from them understanding, opinion and shared experiences that enable me to face what is going on. So thanks to all the people that help me get through the squiggles!

But ultimately it comes down to being a person that can push through the tough stuff and bask in the good stuff because it’s the good stuff that makes it worthwhile x

Making a difference


I set up What’s On 4 to make a difference to my life, so I could have a flexible job that fitted around my little girl.  7 years ago I never expected What’s On 4 to become what it has, in fact I still forget the impact it has on others which is why yesterday I was so vividly reminded.  I will let the video do the talking for me and just say that I’m proud to be proud of what I started 7 years ago and thankful to all those who work alongside me to keep making it happen 🙂


Make sure you have someone telling you how special you are every day x

The future’s so bright I’ve gotta wear shades


Title of a 80s hit by Timbuk 3 – I’m sure you know the song maybe not the group, though I did find out on wikipedia that they supposedly have never licensed the song for advertising and even turned down nearly $1million from AT&T!

Anyway, I reminded of the title of the song a) because it’s actually sunny at the moment and b) because I had to get myself back on track with positive thinking about the future.

Keeping optimistic about the future is tough because we don’t know what it holds.  It’s all to often easier to stay nice and comfy dwelling on things of the past because it’s a known quantity. 

What I love about the future is it can become anything, no one know what opportunity or challenge is coming.  This of course is quite scary.  Despite being a very down to earth person I do believe in the power of positive thinking mainly because it make me feel positive in myself and keeps me ploughing on through any hurdles.  Yes, I have negative days still, but it doesn’t last that long any more and I can mentally pull myself back to a positive way of thinking.

I’d highly recommend giving it a go, takes some practice and effort but is well worth it so persevere if it doesn’t quite fall into place to start with.  The Secret is the best known technique but there are plenty of variations on this.

I must now go and dust off my sunglasses, it’s getting quite bright out there now!