Blog Category: Personal

28 Feb

brain teaser for Monday

This is bizarre - after you find the guy - it's so obvious.
Once you find him - it's embarrassing, and you think,
'Why didn't I see him immediately?'












Doctors have concluded that if you find the man in the coffee beans in 3 seconds, the right half of your brain is better developed than most people. If you find the man between 3 seconds and 1 minute, the right half of the brain is developed normally. If you find the man between 1 minute and 3 minutes, then the right half of your brain is functioning slowly and you need to eat more protein. If you have not found the man after 3 minutes, the advice is to look for more of this type of exercise to make that part of the brain stronger!!!

1 Feb

nice one to start the month of February off with....

I was sent this as part of an e mail and loved the sentiment behind it - so here it is!

"Be who you are and say what you feel...

Because those that matter . . don't mind...

And those that mind . . . don't matter"

May you always have

Love to share,

Health to spare, and

Friends that care!

6 Sep

Every picture tells a story

Would you believe - found this postcard which features place names of towns in the U.K.  ALL of them have some connection to reaching cool is that

places to go to Reach Beyond ! ! !

1 Sep

If you want a different answer, then ask a different question

As a coach working with people for their personal or professional develoment, one of the challenges is to help the person find out what they really want to change in their lives and effective ways to bring out the changes they desire.  The relatively "easy" part is to decide on actions to achieve the changes, but if the underlying motives for change are not uncovered beforehand, then any actions may be ineffective, a waste of time and frustrating, to say the least.  Finding out the 'value' that people place on the changes they want to make, and what how they will benefit has far more lasting impact, and often quicker to realise.

To give you an example of a way of making the difference between actions and values, here are a couple of questions you might want to consider:

Imagine that you have come in to some money - £100,00.00. What would you do with that money?

Typical answers I get are:   pay off the mortgage or any debts;  have a good holiday; buy a new car, and so on.

However, asking a slightly different question will give a different kind of answer.

If you did have £100,00.00, what would it give you?

Typical answers I get are:  peace of mind, security, stress-free living and so on.

The first answer says what actions people would take with the money.  The second reveals more what people value in their lives - a totally different answer, just by rephrasing the question. So in finding out what people value, the actions which follow usually have a far more significant impact on the changes that people make in their lives and be far more motivational to succeed.

Try out the questions in your personal and professional life and see what answers come up for you.  In business, you might want to ask "what can we do to be number one?"  or "what would it give us to be number one?".  "If you had the best job in the world, what would it give you?"




6 Jun

Keeping it REALLY simply!

I was looking around, recently, for some new ideas and inspriration for a new Personal Development workshop I am designing, and came across this great story about making assumptions, being judgemental, and above all, making things more difficult than they need to be . . !

A party of suppliers was being given a tour of a mental hospital.  One of the visitors had made some very insulting remarks about the patients.  Aft erh the tour, the visitors were introduced to various members of staff in the canteen.

The rude visitor chatted to one of the security staff, Bill, a kindly and wise ex-policeman. 

"Are they all raving loonies in here then" said the rude man.

"Only the ones who fail the test," said Bill.

"What's the test?" said the man.

"Well, we show them a bath full of water, a bucket, a jug and an egg cup, and we ask them what's the quickest way to empty the bath,! said Bill.

"Oh, I see.  Simple - the normal ones know it's the bucket, right?"

"No actually," said Bill.  "The normal ones say pull out the plug.  Should I check when there's a bed free for you?"


Food for thought eh? How often in our personal or professional lives do we not  stop to think about the easiest or most effective way to achieve a result, and yet by stopping briefly to give some thought to the options available, and making a decision that might just save some time and effort.

I found this story, and many many more on a fantastic website called where there is a whole host of interesting information about learning, development, and life in general.



18 May

"Success" - a thought to weather the storms of today


Ralph Waldo Emerson


To laugh often and much;

to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;

to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;

to appreciate beauty;  to find the best in others;

to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or redeemed social condition;

to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succceeded.



17 Feb

One life - six words

I came across a really interesting book called "One Life 6 Words.  What's yours?" edited by SMITH magazine.

The essence of the book is about creating a six-word story or memoir about your life and is full of quotations from a wide range of people.  Apparently the idea originates from a challenge given to Ernest Hemingway to write a story in six words.

The Editors talk about the book as being a "glorious mishmash ....... a thousand little windows into humanity"

Some of my favourites from the book are:

Danced in Fields of Infinite possibilites

Now I blog and drink wine

Followed rules, not dreams. Never again.

I believe in life before death.

Happiness is a warm salami sandwich

So it gave me the idea that we should add our own six word stories on here related to reaching beyond.  So please feel free to add yours and check back to the 6 Word listing Cateogry to read other peoples' stories.

The idea is also engaging people on the site. and people are leaving some fascinating phrases.


16 Feb

Walls or Windmills . . . ? Is YOUR team ready for the business Upturn?

I recently came across a great chinese proverb which said:


"When the winds of change blow, some people build walls for defences, and some people build windmills"


I thought it was very appropriate at a time when so many businesses - and individuals for that matter - are dealing with so much turbulence and difficulty, especially if they have had to reduce manpower because of costs.It can be so easy to batten down the hatches and build walls to cope with poor trading and lost opportunities and even build psychological walls in your dealings with staff, customers and suppliers in order to survive.


However, the quote reminded me of the principle in martial arts where you use the energy of your opponent or situation to defeat them, rather than waste your own force and energy to combat them.  Businesses that I deal with seem to be more successful weathering the economic storm when they work with the situation they are in, and look at new ways of doing business and using the "new energy" that is around - an energy of creativity, focussing on the resources you have and not bothering about what you don't have.  While these times can prove challenging in so many different ways, if we look at what we can do, it is often surprising to find that we can actually do more with less, and feel a real sense of achievement.

I am also reminded of a great african proverb which I came across years ago which says: 

"Calm seas do not make skillful sailors"

So how will you get the most from your teams at work?  Some of the people will have been with you through the difficult times and need re-motivating perhaps; you may have hired some new people in readiness for the new business opportunities.  Whoever is in your team now, it may prove beneficial for everyone to spend some time together to learn about each other - experience, ideas, talents - and talk about how to work best together.



12 Mar

Accepting your Self - sent to me by my sister

I  would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become kinder to  myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am  entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant. 

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon, before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.
Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60's &70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love ... I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is  pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.  

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong.
So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I  like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).



25 Feb

The Sound of Silence - taking time out

When was the last time you just sat and did absolutely NOTHING????  !!!!  Scary thought, perhaps, for some people, but by doing nothing, LOT's of things actually do happen....... For instance:

  • your heart rate will probably slow down
  • your blood pressure will probably reduce
  • your breathing will certainly slow down and be more steady and regular
  • and....... if you do it for long enough, your busy mind chatter will probably quiet down as well

Doing nothing is not about sitting cross - legged and meditating for hours on end!!!  Simply sitting for a few minutes and not moving, not looking at anything and not listening to anything in particular - they all can make a huge difference on your physical, mental and emotional well-being.

So I DARE you to sit somewhere for AT LEAST 3 minutes (try 5 if you are feeling brave!!!)  EVERY DAY and see what happens.  It could be the first time in a LONG time that you have done it, and a word of caution......  If you say to yourself that you haven't got time to sit for a few minutes.......then that might just be a sign that says you NEED to sit quietly for a while to rest up and recharge!!!

And if you need some help sitting still, then take a look at the CD "Calm your Mind" and listen to the free track.

It seems that more and more people are choosing silence as a way of dealing with the turbulent times we are living in.  Sara Maitlant - an author and journalist - writes of her experiences of silent living in an inspirational book called "A Book of Silence"  (published by Grant 2008

Also check the Diary section on the site for details of a radio programme talking about silence - March 7th

17 Feb

the STAR fish story - doing one thing that makes a big difference

A man was sitting in his small cabin by the beach writing, and he noticed a person in the distance apparently 'dancing' on the sand, going from the shore to the beach and back several times.  He watched for a few days wondering what was happening, and then his curiosity got the better of him and he decided to go and find out. 

As he approached the dancing figure, he saw hundreds of starfish which had been washed up on the beach by the tide.  He then saw the dancing figure picking up a starfish, going to the shore and puting the starfish back in the sea. And this happened many times as the man got nearer.

When they eventually talked, the man said that it would be impossible to clear the beach of all of the starfish - there were just so many.  The 'dancer' made no reply, but simply picked up another starfish and put it back in the sea and then came back and said:"well, made a difference to that one!"


How often do we think that we can't make a big difference in the world, but by doing something small, often, it has the potential to make a big difference to something or someone.  It could be simply ringing up a friend and saying how much you appreciate their friendship, smiling at someone, helping someone...... it doesn't have to be BIG but done with with a good heart.

The original story I heard on a video called The Power of Vision narrated by Joel Barker.  An interesting and inspirational chap



17 Feb

smiling - just a thought!!!

Was listening to an interesting radio interview with a guy who was talking about the way the brain works, our thoughts and how they affect our moods.  I was struck by a question he was raising about smiling:

Are you happy when you smile or do you smile when you are happy?

He was saying that the act of smiling can make you feel happy, which in my own experience I can recognise - I suppose if you are genuinely smiling it is difficult NOT to feel okay or even great!!!

9 Feb

DSD - Do Something Different to feel good


D.S.D      Do Something Different

Simply effective for switching your thoughts OFF and making you feel better

Sometimes our thoughts can run away with themselves and get the better of us, for all kinds of reasons: because of obsessions, something upsetting us, rehearsing 'to do ' lists in our head, and so it goes on, and the more you try to stop those thoughts the 'louder and more persistent they seem to get'. Sound familiar?

ONE thing to do which might just help - don't think about your thoughts but just DO something different.!!

Have you ever been annoyed with something or someone, and took yourself off and cleaned the cooker or the kitchen floor or did something physical to take your mind off things? Quite simply, you Did Something Different which probably made a difference to how you were felling. So DSD can work if you let it.

WARNING:    Whenever you do something different, give it your absolute attention and energy -  with a smile on your face, and it will definitely influence how you are thinking and feeling by the time you finish.

No money needed, just use your time and energy in a different way.

So next time your 'mind has a mind of its own'..... make a commitment to DSD, and it will have a double benefit.  It will take your mind off those bothersome thoughts, AND you will end up getting something worthwhile done.  And finally, it might just make you feel good as well. 

So here goes... some other DSD activities:

  • Clean - the car, the cooker, the kitchen floor, the garage, the loft, the whole house
  • Walk the dog - if you haven't got one go and borrow one
  • Spend some time with your children -if you haven't got any, go ask your best friends if you can take their kids off their hands for a little while - they will love you forever
  • Go to an art gallery, cinema, theatre
  • Cook something without a recipe book and with ingredients you have in the fridge, freezer, cupboard
  • Take a power walk around the block and notice every step you make on the ground
  • Play a musical instrument and make a noise - no need to make music
  • Sing your favourite songs
  • Sing your favourite songs to a cd while you hoover
  • Mow the lawn
  • Paint a wall
  • Do a puzzle, jig saw, soduko, knit, sew, count the panes of glass in the house / apartment next door
  • Look through your photo album
  • Put all of the photos from all of your holidays in to a photo album
  • Sing and dance while you do any of the above things


9 Dec

'Dog walking' for your mind - keep focussed on what you want to think about.

Meet Flynn. He is my one year old Field Spaniel who has boundless energy, a strong will and is loads of fun. He has an insatiable curiosity about the world around him, and training him to walk with me on and off the lead has caused me think about  how we can 'train' (or discipline) our mind to respond to our requests (commands) and focus our mind at will to stay safe, sane and healthy.So I want to share some things I have learned that you may find useful to focus your mind, so that you decide what you think about, and not let those wayward thoughts take control.

Since getting the dog last December, walking twice a day has been ajoy, an adventure, sometimes a nightmare, but above all, it has taught me a lot about life in the dog world - the sights, the smells, the distractions which can take his mind off everywhere except following my lead.  You can imagine my envy at watching other (usually older) dogs playfully running around off their lead but reacting instantly to the calls of their owner.  Not for those dogs an owner who has to call repeatedly to no avail, or as a last resort, have to go running off after the dog to retrieve him/her.  Such was my experience in the early days of letting Flynn off his lead. Patience was tested to the full!!!

What I noticed in the early days of walking him is that he lives very much in the "here and the now" and EVERYTHING interests them - particularly every single smell on the walk. If I had allowed him to have his way and sniff everything, we would have probably only got to the end of the street and it would then be time to go back home.  And taking his mind off the smell and demanded a range of 'techniques':

  • To keep him walking, often I would only need to call his name and he would follow.
  • Other times I would need to call his name and tug gently on the lead and he would move, with no more interest in the smell he was obsessed with seconds earlier. 
  • Sometimes, however, it would need a strong pull on the lead and a sterner voice before he would be happy to move on and follow. Heavens knows what scent he was compelled to investigate further
  • In the extreme, I would do a complete about-turn and start moving in the other direction and keep him close by

So with some regular walking practice on the lead, with doggy treats to keep him walking to heel and follow without too many distractions, he would stay close by, come back when called, and so we could enjoy longer walks and both appreciate the world around us - rather than me wondering when  he was going to dive off and chase a smell (or cat, other dog, or who kows what else!!!)

Then, of course, comes the BIG day when he is off the lead and free to roam wherever!!! 

Scary times, when you hope the training and persistence have paid off.  Imagine my joy when he DID return when called - okay I was only in an enclosed space with no distractions, but hey, it was progress.

Then out to the big wide world and over time we have more and more success.  He 'generally' returns when called, even after chasing other dogs, birds and the occasional bit of paper, and sometimes, yes,  I do have to go and collect from another dog owner who holds on to him while I walk to get him.  But every time he does what is asked, I get more excited than he does and he loves it.  And even when he doesn't,   I don't tell him off, but encourage him to do it the next time.  So we both feel good about it in the end.

So what does this have to do with taking your mind for a walk?

Unlike Flynn (and other animals) who are fully present to the world around them and reacting to what is happening, we human beings can have a tendency to get lost in our thoughts and be totally oblivious to the world around us - preoccupied with "stuff" happening to us which can be both positive or negative in outcome, but which generally does not allow us to enjoy the moment. In fact that 'internal dialogue' can lead to a detrimental effect on our bodies and well-being, if continued over time, and if we said to others the often negative things that we can say to ourselves, we could be taken to court for slander!!!

So when you do get obsessed with unnecessary or unhelpful thoughts, or want to focus your mind on what you want to think about take your mind for a 'walk' and use some of the techniques that have helped me enjoy walking with Flynn

  • Sometimes a gentle reminder to yourself about what you are doing can refocus your mind from a distracting thought (aka calling Flynns name)
  • If the distracting thoughts persist, then stop what you are doing, notice what is around you (so focus on something in the present) - in your physical environment or a sound you are hearing, take a breath in and out and remind yourself what you want to think about. (aka tugging on the lead and calling his name in a louder voice)
  • If all else fails and you can not help yourself obsessing over something, then you might have to resort to D.S.D. - no, not a drug, but Doing Something Different.  (aka doing an about-turn with Flynn)                                                                                    In other words, take your mind totally off those obsessive thoughts and go and do something to take your mind off it - for example, clean the car, the cooker, do some gardening, take your dog our for a walk (go borrow one if you don't have your own), play with the kids (go borrow some if you don't have your own, your friends will love you).  And when doing these things, pay full attention to what you are doing, and you will leave no room in your mind for any other thoughts.

(just out of interest, some scientists have proven that while your brain can, indeed, multi-task to keep you alive and well, your mind can only focus on one thing - or thought - at time, so choose which thoughts you want to think about)

And keep at it - be disciplined with your thoughts and after a while you can let them "off the lead" without fear of them running wild!!!

So there you go, some of my experiences with Flynn.  We are still working at walking together with him off the lead, and it gets better every time, but if I forget, he can so easily get distracted and go off in his own little world.

my singing partner!!!And as well as walking together, in recent months he has started singing with me - but he has very particular taste in music that he joins in with - it only seems to happen with the classical stuff - especially the solo "Every Valley" from Handels' Messiah.  Boy, can he howl when I practise this one!!!







12 Nov

the T.U.G. technique - stop recycling your thoughts and worrying!!!

T.U.G.  - something different to help stop your chatterbox mind running away with itself.!!! 
(so,  not what you though it was about!!!)

Neuro Scientists would have us believe that thousands of thoughts run through our head every day, most of which are just the same ones being recycled, and don't serve any useful purpose.  In fact, it can often be the case that we might start the day with some niggly thought which keeps nagging us throughout the day, and stops us enjoying what we do, or fully appreciating the good things that the day has to offer.

Those niggly thoughts can be about anything, or anyone/ real or imagined.  You might be thinking that the day ahead will be difficult, some things you have planned may not succeed, the bus might be late, some work colleagues are bound to disagree with your ideas, or don't like you, or that you don't have enough hours in the day to get every thing done.  And so the list goes on, and those recycled thoughts begin to take on a life of their own, and get bigger and bigger, louder and louder in our heads until we become totally oblivious to the world going on a round us, and just be obsessed with the thoughts!

And what's more, you can't find the off switch, or the volume control to turn the noise down, or switch to another "channel" to listen to. 

Well, think of the T.U.G. technique as a kind of OFF switch - at least to allow you a moment stop and think about what you are thinking about - BEFORE they take over your day and world!!!  And those three letters stand for


So, it works like this.  Whenever you become aware of thoughts that you have had before, which bother you, make you feel irritated, cause you to think negatively about a situation or person, STOP and ask yourself these three questions:

Is what I am thinking TRUE?  ( and if you answer YES, ask yourself "How do I know it is true?" - you may not know but just assume you know!!)

Is what I am thinking USEFUL?  (in other words, does it help me clarify something or just confuse me more?)

Do those thoughts make me feel GOOD? (in myself, about myself, about others, about the situation)

If the answer to ANY of the above questions is NO, then think about something else that does make you feel good.

The trick to the technique is to stop yourself the SECOND you become aware of those niggling thoughts, and TUG at them.  Don't allow them to take control.
Nip them in the bud.

And of course, sometimes we do have thoughts that keep coming back time and time again - so it might be that they are useful thoughts which need to be looked at, sorted out once a for all, so that you feel good for doing that.

So, keep on TUGging at those niggling thoughts, and start to choose the thoughts that you want to have which are true, very useful and make you feel really good.

23 Oct

in to the sunset with a smile

cool shot eh!!!  I have it on good authority that this is a genuine Photo - and even if it isn't, brought a smile to my face.