Category Archives: Career

The Power Of Following Your Dreams: Some Surprisingly Simple Reasons To Believe In The Impossible…

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“People will kill you over time, and how they’ll kill you is with tiny, harmless phrases, like “be realistic” 

Dylan Moran

Happy Truth-bomb Tuesday, wee one. Bet you can guess what today’s inspiration grenade is, can’t you?

Work out what you want, the thing that really excites you, motivates you and gives you a sense of purpose and joy – and go after it – no matter how unattainable others think it is.

How Do You Know If A Dream Is Worth Following Or Not?

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For though your nearest and dearest may well get the tune of your spirit better than most, we are all uniquely different (even identical twins) – with different loves and hates – hopes and dreams – and these aren’t always what those closest to you expect – or what you yourself may have believed you believed in. Until now.

For this journey called life is just that – a journey – with twists and turns and highs and lows in the road – and we are constantly evolving travellers treading paths which change shape at every step.

As my lovely coachees so often illustrate, what once seemed like the best ideal in the world may now be but a faraway thought with little passion behind it – one which finds itself replaced with something new, wondrous and thrilling – finding you upgraded with a new identity of sorts.

And this new dream may come out of nowhere – like a cheek-smacking revelation – exciting and scary all at once. But here’s the important point – so listen up good – that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be pursued, no matter what anyone tells you – it probably means it should!

Why Should You Trust Your Instincts?

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Case in point – many thought I was mad to leave the comfort of Madrid where I was so happy and fulfilled to go to the mountainous climes of Chamonix but I held fast to my instincts and sure enough, it was a time of awakening, joy, self-development and love. My instincts were spot on – and I’m so glad I followed my heart – not my head.

Of course, there are times when the chatterings of the rationale become louder than the flutterings of your heart – and that’s ok, too – if it feels right – to you.

What’s The Bottom Line?

And if you’re worried that dream-catching is reckless, silly or something fit for different sorts to you, remember – it is anything but.

For as soon as you start to pursue a dream, your life wakes up and everything has meaning.

#dreams

#goafterthem

#justdoit

Tragic To Magic: How Reframing Negative Self-Talk Could Change Your Life

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Happy Friday, wee ones!

I had a cracking coaching session yesterday with a lovely Canadian client who found one technique, in particular, really transformative.

This will be helpful to any Gazers who want to reframe a negative emotion into a positive one. In Keara’s case this was reframing her anxiety, quietening over-thinking and that self-critical inner voice to something more productive, invigorating and self-loving.

How Does Reframing Work? 

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Let’s say you put yourself down as over-sensitive. How could you reframe that into a more positive statement? How about reframing yourself as a compassionate soul who is highly perceptive, noticing things that go over others’ heads? I’m guessing you can think of at least 2 occasions in your life when this has been massively helpful, whether in relationships, work or other areas.

Or maybe you think you’re too analytical, finding yourself entrenched in thoughts 24/7 and far from the zen you truly crave. How could you reframe that into something more liberating? How about trying to think of yourself as a pro-risk assessor, gifted at weighing up the pros and cons of life’s complexities? I’ll bet this has brought real value to your life in vital areas, whether attention to detail at work or the ability to see situations from different perspectives.

So for any Gazers bogged down in negative self-talk, try this today – write it on a note in your phone and look at it every time your negative inner voice becomes too loud. It really does work.

Want To Know More Where That Came From?

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And for any Gazers out there wanting to know more about the transformative effects of coaching, here’s what my lovely client in question kindly shared:

“I am so glad that I had the opportunity to have a coaching session with Melanie. I couldn’t believe how much I got out of our one session! I had many ‘a-ha’ moments and Melanie really helped me to pin down what I wanted to work on and enabled me to see how I could shift my perspective on challenges I was facing. I left the session with clarity and inspiration and actionable steps that I could take to help me achieve my goals. I would highly recommend Melanie as a coach!”

Keara, Qualified Accountant / Trainee Naturopathic Doctor, Canada

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#reframing

#transformyourmind

#positivetonegative

#coachingmagic

13 Stress Relieving Habits That Could Change Your Life

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“You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass”

Timber Hawkeye

Happy Tuesday, wee ones – almost hump day!! I read this article recently which I absolutely loved by Pop Sugar – “13 Stress-Inducing Habits and How to Avoid Them”. It’s full of practical ideas which bring balance to over-stretched lives (sound familiar?) – mentally, physically and most importantly – spiritually. Yes. It’s balm to the soul.

From drinking too much caffeine (you know that funny state of over alertness which conquers fatigue but can leave you feeling all kinds of sketchy…) to lack of exercise and constantly venting to friends (I’ve definitely been guilty of this in vulnerable moments – and it doesn’t always help) – these tips are as surprising as they are helpful.

So, if you feel like enhancing your life in 5 minutes, here are some things that stressed-out people tend to do and tips to break the habits – http://www.popsugar.com/sma…/Habits-Stressed-People-34935933. Enjoy :)

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#stress

#tips

#balance

#calm

Entrepreneur Of The Fortnight: Eco-Pet Pioneer: George Bramble

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Hey there, wee Gazer! Happy Monday to you! If you’re feeling a little sluggish let’s kick off your week with a huge dose of entrepreneurial inspiration from George Bramble, co-founder of the award-winning, ‘green’ pet product and accessories company, Beco Pets.

Stocking an impressive range of eco-friendly products for dogs, cats and other pets, Beco exports products to 43 countries worldwide and are the UK’s leading poop bag specialists, selling more than 10 million bags worldwide.

And while poop bags may seem the stuff of giggles, with 8.5 million dogs in the UK alone, not to mention how much the Americans spend on their furry friends, George and his business partner, Toby, are a seriously enterprising pair.

So if you’re ever dreamt of changing direction career-wise but have no idea where to start, read on to see why you really should keep an open-mind about the direction you take. George’s innovation and motivation (which has seen Beco Pets featuring in The Times for selling chopsticks back to China in the form of dog bowls), is seriously rousing stuff…

Over to you, George

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Can You Tell Me A Bit About What You Do?

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I am the Co-Founder of Beco Pets, the UK’s leading manufacturer of eco-friendly pet products. I look after the sales and marketing side of the business and we sell to pet specialty stores in the UK and in 43 markets abroad.

What Was Your Previous Experience Before Starting Your Business?

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Having left the University of Birmingham in 2005 with a degree in geography and environmental sciences, I started on a graduate scheme at a global drinks manufacturer Bacardi Martini, where I gained invaluable experience in lots of different areas of business, from finance to marketing and sales. But after four years I decided the company wasn’t for me and I decided to start my own business.

What Inspired You To Start Your Business?

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My inspiration was my brother Richard Bramble, who already ran his own successful business. I saw that hard work and dedication can lead to success and that the great thing about running your own business is that you are in control of your own destiny, which really appealed to me.

The other reason for starting my own business was having studied geography and environmental sciences at university. I have always had an interest in conservation and the environment so I decided that if I was going to make money out of a business, I wanted it to have an environmental and eco aspect to it – which is what inspired me to start Beco.

How Did You Manage To Build Your Business?

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I was introduced to my now business partner, Toby Massey, through a mutual friend. I was sourcing eco-friendly products and Toby had vast experience in eco-friendly design and also, more importantly, manufacturing. We hit it off straightaway. He designed the products and sourced them through our network of factories in the Far East and I went about putting products on the shop shelves and the selling and marketing of the brand.

We have gone from strength to strength. From starting working out of Toby’s father’s garage in 2009, we now distribute to 43 markets worldwide and spend most of the year travelling round the world attending trade shows and seeing customers.

What’s Been The Biggest Highlight?

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The UK pet product market is worth £4bn. The biggest highlight for us was conquering the American market. Last year we linked up with a US distributor and due to the size of the pet market there and Americans spending a huge amount on their pets and their eco purchasing decisions, we have grown tremendously. In fact, we have doubled our turnover in the last year.

What’s Been The Biggest Challenge?

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Any start-up business faces various challenges, obstacles and really hard work. I remember sitting on Toby’s brother’s office roof putting stickers on pet bowls for 48 hours straight, downing energy drinks to stay awake – all because we were on a deadline to fulfil an order for our first big distributor.

As for anyone running their own business, each day presents itself with hurdles to overcome but the biggest challenge for us came at the beginning when Beco wasn’t generating enough to pay our wages and we were very much living hand to mouth. But after a few months of hard work and tight budgets, we turned the corner and we haven’t looked back since.

What’s Your Favourite Product?

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If someone had told me when I left university that I would be making my living by selling eco-friendly dog poop bags I would have said they were nuts. But one of the biggest parts of our business is selling degradable poop bags, so there is money in s**t after all.

How Do You Build Your Client Base?

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We use good old-fashioned sales. It started with a phone directory and we began ringing up and selling our products on the phone, within the UK but also worldwide. When you are selling to New Zealand, it meant there were some 4am starts. And when you are selling to the US, you have to stay up late into the night. Now we have distributors in markets all over the world and a full sales team in the UK with reps on the road.

What’s The Best Compliment You’ve Received?

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We get compliments every day but the biggest compliment for me is when members of the public review out products online and say how much they – and importantly, their pets – love them and that they are so pleased that a company like Beco Pets is trying to make a difference to our planet.

What Advice Would You Give To Budding Entrepreneurs?

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I’ll offer three pieces of advice.

1. Innovation And Hard Work

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I was always told it’s not the dog in the fight, it’s the fight in the dog. Meaning that you have to give everything 150 per cent and always be thinking of clever ways to compete with your big rivals in the market place.

2. Cash Is King

In other words, keep on top of your cash flow. You might be selling millions of pounds’ worth of product but if you run out of cash your business is no more.

3. Listen To Your Customers

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You might think you have the greatest product or service, but if your customers don’t, you haven’t got a business.

What’s Next For You?

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We have enjoyed record growth and success in the last year and our next objective is to grow our international profile even more. We currently export our products to 43 countries around the world and it is my ambition to meet as many of our customers in the US and around the world as possible. Beco Pets has a fantastic profile in the UK and our eco-friendly approach to business is something we share with colleagues around the world.

How Can We Contact You?

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Visit our website at www.becopets.com or write to me on hello@becopets.com.

What’s Your Favourite Quote?

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Tell Us Something We Didn’t Know About You….

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One of the secrets of my success, I believe, is starting every day with a cold water lido swim as it gets my endorphins going. I always swim for up to 45 minutes. One day I’d like to swim the English Channel.

 

 

 

Truth-Bomb Friday: Belt Up And Brace Yourself

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Here’s a powerful truth bomb for you before Friday dawns, wee Gazer – charged from the depths of my heart after reading one of the most powerful HONY posts going. So stop what you’re doing, please. Belt up – and listen good.

Don’t EVER let anyone tell you you’re not capable of achieving what you want or that your dreams are too big or your mind too small.

EVERY time I’ve been told this – EVERY time – they were wrong.

A prep school teacher told my mum my twin and I would never in a million years pass the 12+. We did – and both went on to do more than ok – me becoming a lawyer at a top firm and my sister becoming an entrepreneur running her own highly successful interior design business.

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Then there was the handsome but seriously limited Physics teacher - Mr Sparks was his name – (honestly) – who was so bad at identifying the potential in his students that we resorted to extra tuition (on Sundays!) – which saw us catapult from the bottom of the class to the top (redheads rule). His accusation on seeing our results – that we must have cheated – not just for our high marks but because we got identical marks (surprising ignorance from a science teacher given our identical natures!) – said so much more about his limitations than ours.

It didn’t stop there – as I’m sure many of you also experienced in your formative (and, by the way – most crucial) years.

An A-Level English teacher at a top school (whose senior job label was only matched by her poor teaching and judgment) told me, most encouragingly pre-A-Level exam, I’d probably just about scrape a B. She didn’t know me very well. I swept through with 93% and a First Class Degree in English Literature 5 years later. The Devil in me wanted to write to her but the Angel in me felt a little mean ;)

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Then there was the well-meaning vicar who told said twinnie and I we couldn’t possibly read at our brother’s funeral. Ok – that’s more understandable and he probably did mean well – but little did he stop to listen – listen to the tunes of our hearts and souls – little did he understand us. No way were we going to let our stupendous big bro – a bloke who’d inspired pride of steel in everyone who knew him – leave our lives without the send-off he so richly deserved. Just – no – chance!

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My point? They were the ones with the small minds – the small dreams – the limited visions – the glasses half dirty and half empty.

So if you’re blessed with passion, hope and grit – as I think you are, wondrous one – you go after your dreams with EVERYTHING you’ve got. Don’t EVER let anyone tell you can’t do something. No matter how unlikely or extraordinary. Because you know what? The most extraordinary people achieve the most unlikely of things. Look at all the greats – Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson. Do you think any of their career advisors thought their dreams were achievable?! I – think – not!

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I’ll leave you with this truly inspiring tale from the cracking beauty below interviewed by Humans of New York. Belt up now – cos this is a woman who took no sh*t – this is a woman who OWNED her dreams, who fought with everything she had – and didn’t have, supposedly.

THIS is what SUCCESS looks like. Hard-won – determined – gritty – glorious success.

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“I had a child when I was sixteen. I got kicked out of high school because of all the absences. My family and community pretty much wrote me off. But right away I got a job at a sporting goods store. Soon I was able to get a job as a receptionist at a tax company, and they gave me enough responsibilities that I learned how to do taxes. Eventually I learned enough to become an associate. Then I got offered a job at a smaller company, and even though it was a pay cut, they offered me responsibility over all the books– accounts payable, accounts receivable, everything. It was less money but I wanted that experience so I took the risk. And I’m so glad I did, because six months later, the controller of that company left and I was given that position. They told me they couldn’t officially call me the controller because I didn’t have a college degree. So I finished my degree 5 months ago– just to make it official! So after having a child at sixteen, I made it all the way to controller of a company, without even having a college degree. Can you believe that? Honestly, I’ve been waiting to tell that story so long that I told it to a customer service representative on the phone last week. She was nice about it and pretended to care.”

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#success

#determination

#inspiration

#goafteryourdreams

 

Entrepreneur Of The Fortnight: Alex Fagan of Beauchamps Of London

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Hey there, wee Gazer! Happy Tuesday to you!

Let’s kick off your evening the right way with some seriously nourishing nuggets of inspiration from London’s, Alex Fagan, who gives us a snapshot into her path to entrepreneurial success as CEO of the stunning luxury leather brandBeauchamps of London.

If you’ve ever dreamt of jacking in your 9-5 job if you only knew what else you would do, where you would start and how you could channel your passions into a soul-alighting, money-making reality, this is for you. 

Or maybe you’ve wondered how much experience you need in a new field before hopscotching your way into a fresh new venture - or perhaps you’ve questioned when you should make the first jump – or if you should jump at all. How do you do know if it’s reckless or just – plain – heroic?

And then there’s that golden question – how do you know if your new venture will succeed or flop? How fine is the line between glory and disappointment?

Alex answers all these questions and more, giving you super dooper inside scoop and practical tips about her path to entrepreneurial success.

Over to you, Alex…

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Can You Tell Me A Bit About What You Do?

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Beauchamps of London is a luxury accessories brand focusing on beautiful eye-catching British made pieces.

Beauchamps Corporate is the business to business side of the brand and offers luxury goods, more often bespoke products for company gifts, but we do run a line of standard lower price point pieces. We work with closely with clients to make a truly unique gifts and design the full package including, packaging, bespoke wrapping, leather gift, unique hardware.

We recently set up an import and export arm for the business. This arm is based between the UK & China which allows us to make and source all packaging and product needs from the Far East. It’s quite a complicated business but having built up many strong relationships with suppliers out there it seemed a great idea to help others to import, which otherwise may be quite tricky, especially for smaller brands. It’s a problem Beauchamps faced in the early stages of set up! Importing packaging is becoming a big part service!

What Was Your Previous Experience Before Starting Your Business?

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Before starting the business I worked in commercial property!! Beauchamps started totally by accident!

What Inspired You To Start Your Business?

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I always loved accessories and could never really find anything I loved in the market. After some thinking and many sketches later I set about working out what it was I liked and started making it (myself). Some of the pieces were spotted by Liberty of London at their ‘Open Call’ and the business began from there. The corporate arm was set up about 2 years after the fashion side was established.

How Did You Manage To Build Your Business?

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Totally organically! I was lucky and had grown relationships with some amazing suppliers who gave me some key advise during the early stages. It’s taken a long time but its been worth the slow wait. The time ensured we really found what it was that defines the brand.

What’s Been The Biggest Highlight?

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Being stocked by Liberty of London and seeing Cressida Bonas and Pippa Middleton wearing my bags! The latter two were amazing moments.

What’s Been The Biggest Challenge?

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Setting up supply chain in China for the corporate side and getting the fashion products noticed! They have both been hugely tricky.

What’s Your Favourite Product / Service? 

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I love the corporate service. It’s amazing working with companies and creating something truly unique for them. You can read more about that here.

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I also adore the fashion but it’s a very different business model. My favourite product is the Hutchinson clutch.

How Do You Build Your Client Base?

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Mainly word of mouth but magazine articles have also helped.

What’s The Best Compliment You’ve Received?

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I think the biggest compliment has been people saying how beautifully made all the products are (both corporate and fashion) and the personal level of service we offer. It takes a lot of man power to give such a personal service but it’s key to making clients feel special and understanding their specific requirements.

What Advice Would You Give To Budding Entrepreneurs?

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Take time, definitely don’t rush things and form a good business plan!

What’s Next For You?

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Building the corporate gifting department and growing the import / export / packaging departments. It’s a key part of the business and it has a lot of scope to grow.

And finding time to take a holiday!

How Can We Contact You?

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Best is by email on shop@beauchampsoflondon.com

What’s Your Favourite Quote?

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It’s not about the winning, it’s about the taking part.

Tell Us Something We Didn’t Know About You….

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I love climbing and have a dream to walk to the North Pole!

I also have a huge love for penguins!

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7.Believe-in-yourself-and-back-yourself-to-come-out-on-top.-Afulfilling-career-is-waiting-for-those-brave-enough-to-find-it.

“What Do You Do For A Living?”: Why The Truth Ain’t Always The Best Reply by Nicole Perhne

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Why I wholeheartedly salute the lovely Nicole Perhne’s thoughts on that common (and often identity defining and deceptively deceiving) cocktail party question: “What do you do for a living?” 

“I totally agree. Nicole! I often think if we look to what we wanted to do when we were 10 years old, before ‘shoulds’ featured in our lives, we can find some truth there… I wanted to be a magazine editor, but instead became a lawyer (which was cool bar having no life!) – and here I am – back to the 10 year old who loved to write – and I’m loving it – and harnessing the skills I acquired in law in a (far more fulfilling) coaching capacity – which is far more ‘me’. Keep your vids com’in! ox “

If you’re someone who is lucky enough to LOVE what you do for a living (hello ice cream makers and cookie cutters) – if you’re one of those enviable Gazers whose 9-5 sets you alight brighter than a sunset on Sunset Boulevard – hats off to you – you’re right in your power – right where you should be – and you will continue down your path of fulfilment growing and glowing – hopefully inspiring others along the way.

If, like most of us, you’re not yet right where you belong job-wise but somewhere deep down inside you’re wondering what else is out there – what alternatives will reignite your tired soul – bring the joy back into your daily life – and move you towards your higher purpose, check out Nicole’s video here and savour the difference between a ‘should-led, tick-tock kinda life’ and a ‘soul-driven, want-to-growing-living-kinda-life’.

Her conversation catalysing, soul-setting-on-fire response to that commonplace (and sometimes – conversation stopping) cocktail party question, is right on point.

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#happysundaygazer

#followyourheart

#wantsnotshoulds

Why Taking Time Out Is A MUST – Especially If It’s Impossible

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“What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?”

 William Henry Davies

These are the most powerful lines of my godfather’s favourite poem which he kept on his desk at work. He was an extraordinary man in every sense – a wonderful family man, an extraordinarily warm people person and a highly successful engineer and entrepreneur.

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His last words to me? ‘Don’t go changing’.

He squeezed my hands tight as he said this – like it was a pulse from his heart and looked straight into my eyes like he really meant it. And then, like the soul reading Scorpio that he was, he left this world, leaving it so much poorer, but so much richer for having been here.

And you know what? His words couldn’t have been more spot on. I’d just come out of the most toxic of relationships – it frightens me to look back and see how entirely I lost myself. That was partly because I was in such an intense job – I had no time. No time to eat at home, no time to let my emotions sit by themselves and find balance – no time to stand and stare. The soft-hearted girl that my godfather had seen grow up had become muddled, confused and lost.

I now have that time – in bucket loads.

And while I don’t pretend to have it all sorted, I sure feel a whole lot more balanced now and safer in my romantic judgments for one!

Make time this week, Gazer.

And if you think you don’t have time to make time, all the more reason to put some time aside and work out how you can reshape your life a little. It’ll pay dividends :)

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#maketime

#youdeserveit

Our Biggest Death Bed Regret: The Secret Of Life From 3rd Graders

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This video is awesome.

“The Meaning of Life, Explained by 3rd Graders”.

“Imagine yourself 90 years old on your porch in your rocking chair – looking back on your life. Got that image? Good. Now let me tell you that studies show that the biggest regret from elderly people on their deathbed is not WHAT they did, it’s what DIDN’T DO – the risks they never took….”

Watch the below video and prepare to be gripped.

It may just change your life.

#AGreatManOrWomanWillNeverFitIn
#CosTheyStandOut
#ThisIsYourLife
#DoWhatFeelsRightInYourHeart
#LetThemLaugh
#Success
#StopThinkingJustDoIt

The Networking Secret Which May Surprise You

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Surprising communication tip for you to try out this weekend, wee Gazer…

‘The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said’

because - get this – 93% of what you communicate is non-verbal - with your body language and tone of voice being the real influencers communication wise.

The Power Of Bond…

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Imagine James Bond face to face with his nemesis with a high-pitched, nervous tone or Eva Green sauntering into Casino Royale with slumped shoulders.. Not quite the same effect, is it.

Joking aside, it’s easy to spend time worrying about WHAT you say whether with your boss, your boyfriend or at networking events – when the real surprise is that words count for little in the grand scheme of all things communication.

Far more important is what your body language and tone of voice is saying – all things non-verbal.

Coaching Case Study

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A recent coaching client who was keen to develop her networking skills was pleasantly surprised to learn that worrying over what to say at formal events was actually a bit of a waste of her time! Instead, she’s now focusing on the far more powerful stuff – HOW she says things and what ISNT said – which is a whole lot easier and more natural to boot.

How You Can Apply This In Your Daily Life

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So take the pressure off yourself next time you’re worrying about what to say, wee Gazer and instead slow your speaking, relax your tone of voice, stand with confidence and don’t be afraid to express yourself with gestures, laughter and expression a-plenty.

You can also test out the transformative benefits of this wee secret with your nearest and dearest, this weekend.

So next time you feel worried about raising an issue which may cause tension, carefully mulling over what to say in advance (you know the ones…), remember that 10% of conflict is due to a difference in opinion and 90% is due to delivery and tone of voice.

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#gogetemgazer

#communicationsecret

#topcoachingtip