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How To Grow Faster

“Sound when stretched is music.
Movement when stretched is dance.
Mind when stretched is meditation.
Life when stretched is celebration.”
– Shri Ravishankar Jee

In my mid-twenties, I found myself in challenging mental waters and was lucky enough to have been connected with a skilful counsellor.

At one of our regular Friday sessions, he asked me this question:

“When do you learn most Shane? When things are good or when things are challenging?”

In my naivety, I answered “When things are good because mentally you’re calm and can take things in.”

My counsellor smiled and replied

“I think you’re confusing real learning with school learning.”

The Real Challenge Of Leadership

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude;
be kind, but not weak;
be bold, but not bully;
be thoughtful, but not lazy;
be humble, but not timid;
be proud, but not arrogant;
have humour, but without folly.”

Jim Rohn

Quotes don’t always stop me in my tracks.

But this one did.

Ignoring The Voice Within

“If you hear a voice within you say
‘you cannot paint’, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”
– Vincent Van Gogh

Sometimes when I use sporting analogies, people who are not into sport don’t like it.

Fair enough – but I AM into sport… 🙂

My own experience has shown me that you can glean insights from any field even if you’re not into them. I’m guessing that’s why I’m very interested in ‘performance’ in general – be it business, sport, music, sales, cooking, writing, tiddlywinks…. 🙂

In my podcast this week, the title is Learning From Golf (Even If You Don’t Like It). In it I share some insights from my own work in that area with top players. The insights are directly relevant to anyone interested in bringing more clarity, success and flow into their lives.

An Important Way To Improve Your Performance

“Allow yourself to experience what it is to learn step by step the freedom that comes from being unattached to the outcome, but operating from an empowered heart.” Gary Zukav

Back in the early 2000’s, I had a business with 2 partners, and our focus was helping sports people to perform better. For a period we focused on golf and partnered with a former match-play world champion, Wayne Westner.

One of the things I remember from Wayne was how to hold a golf club.

It went something like this:

You should think about the club like holding a bird. If you hold it too loose, the bird will fly away. Too tight and you might kill it. The trick is to told it in a way that it stays but feels safe and relaxed. That’s the way to hold a club.

For me it’s also the perfect metaphor for how to think about goals.

How To Predict The Future

“The best way to predict the future is to design it”
– Buckmister Fuller

This time last week I was in the middle of hosting annual retreat for leaders, which was all the more special because of the prolonged delay with the pandemic.

23 unsuspecting victims, I mean clients…,joined me for 3 days in the beautiful village of Carlingford. We hiked, talked, reflected, laughed, listened and learned.

While there is a structure to this retreat I’ve found that there is always an emergent property to the event – themes or ideas will emerge in the moment as the group deepens it’s connection. One of the recurring themes this year was around ‘including yourself in your success’ more.

Re-charging Your Battery

“Can’t talk. I am recharging”

– Anonymous Introvert

One morning last week I was taking a walk by the sea and when I returned to my car and was about to move away, there was a knock on my window.

A guy in a beanie hat was staring me straight in the face and when I opened the door, he asked politely if I had jump cables because his car wasn’t starting.

So I moved my car and we tried to inject new life into his engine, but it didn’t work. He thought the starter was the problem, so he had to go to plan C and call his family for help.

Electricity or charge always amazes me. Indeed it still mystifies some of the smartest minds on the planet.

Here are some things that struck me:

The Second Best Time To Start Something New

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb

“I’m too far down the road to change now. It’s just the way I am”
So said the smart, ambitious leader to me.
They were referring to why they thought it was impossible for them to change some of their behaviour and habits – especially mental ones.
On one level, at least they were honest in saying what they were thinking.

Getting Better At What Over The Next 12 Months?

“The quality of your thinking

determines the quality of your life.”

– A.R. Bernard.

I was hosting a company retreat for a client at the end of last week and one of the questions I asked them was this:

What is the one thing you’d like to get better at over the next 12 months?

One of the senior managers said they wanted to ‘have more time to think.’

What they meant was more time to raise the quality of their thinking, to be more strategic, to help them ‘see around corners’, to be more creative.

Most people in my experience think too much, or are stuck in loops of the same patterns of thought. But there is a growing awareness that the above quote is a universal truth.

Distracted By Winning (And Not Winning)

“To get in the zone you have to stay in the present and you have to focus on your process goals.”

– Paul Flynn, winner of six All-Irelands with Dublin in Gaelic football and four consecutive All-Stars.

“I can’t be happy until I achieve this outcome.”

A version of this has been said to me many, many times or if it hasn’t, it’s usually lurking in the back of client’s minds – they just aren’t aware of it. I’m extra aware of this because I did it to myself for so long.

Are You Creating Compliance Or Co-operation?

“None of us is as smart as all of us.”

– Ken Blanchard

We’re only a few days away from the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the US.

If you’re of a certain vintage, I’m sure like me you can remember exactly where you were the day it happened.

I’m not that keen to revisit those events but a new documentary had been recommended to me so I decided to dip into it – 9/11: Turning Point.