Are You a Servant to Your Mind?

From Courageous Success Inspiration

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.  We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.” 
Albert Einstein

Recent insights and discoveries in neuroscience have shared the importance and given credibility to the role of intuition in leadership, especially when it comes to decision making.
What is intuition?  It’s what results when we piece things together, information, experience etc, to come up with something different or new that a single observation or thought may not have identified. 
It’s not being psychic – but so many of us confuse the two.  Fascinating fact – 23% of the adult British population have consulted a psychic (  Psychic insight comes from nowhere – the information just enters your consciousness, and that is very different from intuition. 


Are you putting the two together and then discounting the natural powers that are within you?





As I had a conversation with a friend recently and they shared, “I feel like you are reading my Tarot cards (I wasn’t, I promise!), it actually happened twice in one week! Our intuition is so powerful, again and again I experience the power of it.  Not just in my relationships, but also when working with clients and in my business decisions too.
I honestly get really frustrated with those in business who don’t use it and rely purely on logic.  They lose a huge power. Our belief at Courageous Success is that intuition is a normal sense and using it humanises interactions.  It also makes the world much richer and more interesting!

How to train your intuition – Ohhh there’s lots of ways!  Here are my tips on where to start…

  1. Firstly, you have to have a decent relationship with yourself.  What does that mean? You have to talk to yourself (not like you are mad – but quietly, silently) you need to converse with you, have inner conversations.  If your mind and inner world is either empty – you are purely focusing on what is outside of you – or your thoughts and inner world are negative, then you have no chance.  Cultivating a contemplative, positive relationship with yourself opens yourself to the power of your intuition.
  2. You have to learn to not purely think!  Oh, you mean I have to feel?  Yes, but not just emotion, sense is vital too.  Emotion and sense are heard in your gut and your heart.  How conscious of these areas are you?  Do you listen to them?  Imagine you were in a dark wood at night with all of the blackness and noises…you wouldn’t just be thinking, you’d be feeling (scared probably!) and sensing (I fear the bogeyman behind that tree!)  Your senses would switch on.  You don’t need the dark scary woods, switch them on now.
  3. Be open minded and curious, broaden your information inputs.  What are the patterns?  What connects?  What doesn’t fit?  How does this situation make you feel?  What are you sensing about this person?  What are you not hearing?  Bring it all together BEFORE you reach any conclusions – there may be many.
  4. Trust – how much do you trust your ability to conjugate and be right?  If you don’t trust in your intuitive abilities you could simply discount them.  The more you practice, share and explore, the greater your trust in yourself will grow.  If it’s someone else’s intuition and you are discounting their conclusions (do you have a rampant “prove it to me” strategy – one of the most annoying to people).  What habits and patterns of logic are you holding that is discounting your powerful use of the human intuitive intelligence.
   “To me, a witch is a woman that is capable of letting her intuition take hold of her actions, that communes with her environment, that isn’t afraid of facing challenges.”  Paulo Coelho

Girls & Boys – Is Machismo Ruling Your Leadership?

From Courageous Success Inspiration

The average score on the Courageous Counter (how we measure how much you need us!) against the question:  “I have one me – I know who I am – I am the same person at work and at home” is 4.5/10. 

So, that’s the vast majority of us, not knowing who we are, and changing between home and work.  We have found a striking pattern of conformity and changing ourselves in this way, and it affects men and women. A recent BBC news article quoted a report from Credit Suisse that found: ”companies where women made up at least 15% of senior management were 50% more profitable than those where fewer than 10% of senior managers were female.” A staggering finding that helps the current call for gender equality in the boardroom.  Other research finds that the argument about ‘more women = greater profits’ is not quite as simple. 

I am 100% in support of gender equality in business, however, would this debate be irrelevant if men felt they were able to bring their real selves into work and not subscribe to playing a perceived masculine role?



At the same time, we are hearing from many male commentators about the negative and restrictive aspects of traditional masculinity.  Grayson Perry’s book ‘The Descent of Man’ talks about how the rigidity of masculine roles can destroy men’s lives.  Whilst former disciple of ‘Laddishness’, the journalist Chris Hemmings, talks in a new book about the negative impact of his previous life – how he felt pressure to act in a certain way, to show his machismo, to the extent of feeling pride in not crying at his own father’s funeral, where he actively buried his true feelings. Work places and boardrooms can become a hotbed of this male machismo: macho, masculine toughness – the ultimate male mask.  And it affects men and women in different ways.  We see women “manning up”, with some businesses even training them to speak in a more masculine tone.  One contact we have, was even asked to use hand weights to strength and “man up” her handshake! So, we women feel that we must change and leave some of our real self at home, despite the stats above that female energy boost profits!  This message is just as important for women at work as men!

Part of Chris Hemmings advice about ‘How Not to be a Man’ includes fessing up to having flaws, listening to people and being more empathetic.     The true message for boys and girls is to be authentic and genuine.  Men, take the energy that you have when you cuddle your kids, that warm caring, and bring it to work! The fun and playfulness from the rugby club, bring it to the board room. Girls, let’s stay strong in who we are but also bring in our feminine strengths of sensitivity and normalness.  It inspires and drives the bottom line. Here are some challenges to help you bring the real you to work:

  • Do you always try and present the perfect you?  Get over yourself – it’s a façade. Being authentic is accepting the real you – warts and all.   
  • Stop seeking approval – be honest and say what you really think. Stop trying – just be.
  • Find out who you are – which is not your head, story, persona or habits – it’s in your heart (ask us about iAM).
  • Be led by your heart and not just your mind, trust your hunches and go with your intuition.  Think about how you solve problems with those you care about at home, and use the same tactics at work.

If someone really knew the real you – what is it they would know about you?  That part of your personality that you are not currently showing. 

Be brave and share this part of yourself with your co-workers and team.

Are You a Giver Up’er?

From Courageous Success Inspiration

Sales research has shown that the average prospect says “No” seven times before saying “Yes” and over 80 percent of sales people give up after the first “No.”
The Results Corporation plc 

Everywhere I have travelled this week, I’ve been asked how I’ve had the courage to drive and create Courageous Success. 
Courage is driven by many aspects – authenticity, positivity, belief, but there is one overall aspect that we measure as part of our Courageous Counter (a measure of how much you need us), that is incredibly interesting – persistence.
Most people score their persistence as 7/10, but consistently I see people demonstrate the opposite. How quickly do you give up?
A more challenging question – do you even step forward to create change, or put a barrier up before you even start?
There are lots of examples in business where persistence has paid off:
It took over 5000 attempts before James Dyson perfected his revolutionary bagless vacuum cleaner.
JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was famously rejected 12 times and she was told ‘not to quit her day job’ before it was published.
How many times could I have given up on our mission to transform the way the world develops people?  Hundreds!  But I haven’t, and more importantly I never will.


”Some want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” Michael Jordan



So, what can you do to harness your natural persistence and achieve more in your life?

  • Be honest with yourself.  Out of 10 how much are you being persistent?
  • Look at what you are trying to achieve – have a clear goal or objective to focus on.
  • Ask yourself how much you want the goal, score it out of 10, if the score is low, you could be focussing on the wrong thing – what would be a better goal?
  • If you think about achieving your goal, does it fill you with excitement, energy and hope? If not – what would?
  • Connect with yourself – how can this goal be an expression of you?  How can you uniquely create or contribute to it?
  • Make the choice – decide not to give up. Flexing and adapting is fine if it makes the outcome better, but the simple act of making a pact with yourself, a promise, is simply a choice – but a powerful one.
  • Create a plan and talk about it.

Once you verbalise and personalise a goal, persistence becomes the fuel of creativity.


Bitching, Moaning and Limiting Your Brain?

From Courageous Success Inspiration

Pessimists are eight times more likely to be depressed than optimists, perform worse at school and work and have rockier interpersonal relationships.  Research reported in Psychology Today.

Sitting alone in a café with a warm bowl of soup one day, nursing jet lag, (having just come back from working with Courageous Success, Australia),  I had an hour to fuel my body ready for the afternoon’s meetings.
Despite feeling tired, my mind-set, as ever, was free and positive. How wonderful it was to sit with my laptop in a warm restaurant environment in the middle of the day.
However, sitting next to me (yes I’ve been ear-wigging again!), were two colleagues, who, for the full hour moaned, bitched and complained – fuelling negativity about themselves and their employer.  To my right there was also a table of four people all dramatising over relationships, work and life.
What was even more shocking, the two martyrs on my left, work in Learning and Development – I saw their company lanyards!!!  I would love to naughtily name them, but never would!!  During their hour long rant they slagged off clients, bosses and attendees to their courses.
Are you in this place?
Are your development providers slagging your teams off?

Being happy improves your ability to be more alert and productive.  According to research reported in Psychology Today:  ”other than being much more fun to be around, being happy stimulates the growth of nerve connections, improves cognition by increasing mental productivity, improves your ability to analyse and think, affects your view of your surroundings, increases attentiveness, and leads to more happy thoughts.”

‘Optimism and positive thinking, in general, support brain growth.
Negative thinking slows down brain coordination, making it difficult to process thoughts and find solutions.”


The good news is that brains are flexible, we can change habits of thinking – we can train our brain by re-wiring it.  Scientists have shown that our thoughts make a physical difference to our brain cells. We are all able to ignore and avoid negative thoughts that lead to pessimism, and increase our positive thoughts that lead to optimism.

Here are our Top Tips on maintaining a positive mind-set:

  • Keep your power – manage your emotional response to events that upset or annoy you – choose to maintain your equilibrium and a positive mood.
  • If others are being negative – change the subject or walk away.
  • Fill your consciousness with positive influence – be aware of your thoughts and your response to what’s happening around you.
  • Have hope and faith.
  • Get excited – don’t wait for others to excite you.
  • Make a difference to others – whilst not needing or expecting anything in return.
  • Be nice – don’t gossip or bitch.

See the good in others.    Fuel the good in yourself.




Is Your Personal Responsibility Dying?

From Courageous Success Inspiration

‘Public ‘tricked’ into buying unhealthy food.’  The headline of a UK study reported by the BBC that recently frustrated me.
Are our unwise choices always someone else’s fault?
The gist of the study was that we are all too susceptible to upselling by restaurants and food retailers with offers on food we love, such as sweets, chocolate and fast food, that it’s making us all eat too much.

Are we really being ‘tricked’?  More accurately described: as humans we find temptation hard to resist.
We have a choice when these offers are highlighted to us – eat more calories, or not.  Give in to temptation, or not.

Life is filled with choices for us all and it’s up to us to make the right ones, which may not always be the easy ones.  It can be all too easy to blame other people when, in fact, we have made a wrong choice. Similar to other strategies we can employ when life feels a bit too hard: being a victim, a martyr and thinking that ‘life happens to me’, that I have no choice.  Blaming other people for what happens to us is a choice we make – an unproductive one, but a choice just the same.

In all aspects of life, we have to take responsibility for the choices we make, good or bad! 



Your health is your personal responsibility – are you consciously aware of it?

We’re all human, so we do make mistakes – that’s what happens in life and getting it wrong is often a valuable way of learning and growing. At Courageous Success we know however, that the vast majority of us waste valuable time and energy beating ourselves up about a bad decision – that extra chocolate, a cross word, thinking we didn’t do as well in a presentation as we’d have liked because we chose not to put enough effort in, the list could go on – but instead of guilt and/or blame, how about we remember that we made that choice!
The challenge is that for most of us, we have forgotten that the choice exists. We move through our days, potentially unaware of the impact of our choices and behaviours, often totally lacking self-awareness and more than occasionally (for many I observe when I’m out and about), thinking only of ourselves (Ouch Liz!).  We don’t consciously manage our emotional reactions, we let our emotions impact negatively on others, and underneath it all, doubt ourselves.   We constantly give our power away and lack emotional strength and conscious awareness of ourselves.
At Courageous Success we know that the best person that you can be is yourself, and if you choose to think more constructively and positively about situations, you will build inner strength, belief and resilience. 
Our clients tell us that knowing who they really are – their true iAM Values – and using our mind tactics tools – impacts on their ability to manage their emotional response by 84%.


We know that when people are their values

they step into their power.


They feel confident. They show and feel strength. They fully engage. They keep their power by not letting what’s happening outside of themselves wobble them. They are able to leave the past behind, not waste time and energy on what might have been, but look forward positively and take action.
Imagine if we all brought this version of us to work every day?

So, take personal responsibility and choose to do it!

Multitasking with Love & Cleverness

From Courageous Success Inspiration

Focusing on more than one thing decreases your productivity by 40% and lowers your IQ by 10 points.
Harvard Business Review.

Seems rather one size fits all to me!  If you enjoy mental juggling then it’s part of you and you should embrace it.
Just make sure you are taking others with you. 
This week is a great example of full on forced multi-tasking for me:  Sydney flight Thursday night, UK Manchester workshop Thursday morning, three big quotes to write, back to back phone calls, packing, exhibitions to book, team 1:1’s, Client calls and meets.  It’s busy!   Whether you like multi-tasking or not, it is now often a way of life, and the greatest challenge? That our busyness creates a persona of stress – pushing others away.  We become unapproachable.
At Courageous Success we teach people to maximise their energy space.  If your consciousness is full (scientists estimate that we have between 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day and according to research from the University of Southern California, we are bombarded with the equivalent of 174 newspapers of information per day), then you can’t possibly focus on the people around you. And the people around you are generally hugely affected by you.  If you had to write down everything that you’re currently thinking about and feel you need to focus on, you’d probably come up with a long list of at least 30+ things.
Where is the space for others?
Is self-awareness one of them?
For most it’s not!

We get into the zone with focused direction and our foot to the floor with multi-tasking, to get through everything that needs to be done. 

So, how can we maximise our IQ

and our impact on others whilst being so busy? 





Here are some Courageous Success tips to nail positive persona under pressure; 

  • Perspective – what are you seeing and feeling vs. the reality.  Most of us exaggerate and dramatise as a result.  Do you need to spin 100 plates or juggle a few key projects?
  • How annoying are you being?  Ouch!  Are you coming across transactionally or with realness?  Are you even aware?  Check in with yourself.  What would it be like working with you?
  • Take back control.  We don’t want to become rampant control freaks, but it does help to know and feel that you are in control of it all.  Do what you need to do naturally to manage your workload.  Some of us are planning and list makers, others of us prefer creative pictures of projects or piles of paper.  Be yourself, use your natural strengths to visualise the tasks.
  • Focus: as you multi-task, do each task justice.  Zone in on that one thing, move everything else out of view and manage distractions. If interrupted, it’s ok to ask others to hang fire whilst you collect your thoughts or make a note of where you are at, so that you can quickly zone back in later.
  • Belief that you can get a great job done goes miles to supporting clear consciousness. 
    It’s often said that stress is 10% what happens and 90% our thoughts or reactions to it. When we become stressed our mental abilities of focus, concentration and remembering decline due to the release of cortisol in the brain. Choose to be positive and maximise your inner coherence.
Don’t blame stress or your workload for being grumpy – stop being a victim or martyr!

Be conscious of your impact on others and step into a mode of self-management.

Rampant Conformity and You!

From Courageous Success Inspiration

When we review behaviours and reactions at work, over 80% of people’s immediate reaction is to conform in some way – to fit, to impress, to change, to mould.  20% generally rebel.  They’ll switch in or out as a result. 

A SMALL minority will use their natural rebellion to make changes and make a difference.  This takes courage, but is often successful. 
Which camp do you sit in?
In January this year I decided to take a year’s break from Facebook to see what it felt like.  I got fed up with glossy stories of amazing lives when I knew that the reality for many was the normal ups and downs.  It had become false.  Sometimes boring.  And for me, a little frustrating.  And yet also strangely addictive.  So I stopped.  Interestingly some of my habit of Facebook has converted to Linked In.  I generally like it because it’s great for business and I get to see what many of you are up to 😊.
But how boring it’s getting!  Not the stories about you – these are great, but aside from really personal posts and innovative job adverts, the amount of totally boring, conforming nothingness that people post is incredible.  A recent Thought Leadership study from Edelman and Linked In (Jan 2017) reported that sharing thought leadership posts influences business to business sales (e.g. us sharing this blog on Linked In, you liking and sharing it 😊), but that decision-makers said that most of the time (56 percent) they do not gain valuable insights from the thought leadership that they consume.  
I am not surprised.  I cannot recall the last time – honestly apart from our blogs – that I was inspired by a written thought leadership post on Linked In.  I loved the purple shirts in Sydney last week – YES YES YES – campaigning for equality!  For open-mindedness!  For difference!  I was so inspired that I wore purple that day too!


Sydney Town Hall on ‘wear it purple day’ 2017

to celebrate & support LGBTI.



Another example – this week Liz Mortley in our UK team read a headline about a start-up founded by two women who invented a male co-founder to avoid industry sexism and be more accepted (according to The Times 88% of all British patent applications come from male inventors).
So, what’s the challenge with sticking your neck out?  What makes us temper our posts to look good and blend?  A contact this morning shared with me that she feels that people are constantly feeling judged and on ‘permanent interview test’.  It seems that everyone is always trying to look good.  And that to do this most of us conform.  The result.  Blandness.  Stale culture.  When will we realise that being ourselves is far more interesting? And far more inspiring. 
Are you contributing to a stale work place culture by reading, liking and sharing boring outdated posts?  If so, what are you conforming for?  Where else do you conform?   What stops you from sharing and saying what you really think?  What’s the worst that could happen if you really stretched your expression?
Sometimes it takes a shock, an awakening, to wake up conviction.
A trigger.
What if this post is yours?

Is Joy and Respect the Fuel for Your Working Life?

From Courageous Success Growth Inspiration

”Putting joy and respect at the centre of my work is the fuel that makes me happy. Financial success is the by-product.” Mary Portas UK retail expert.

In a recent newspaper magazine the UK retail expert talks about her new business philosophy and one that she states as ”a simple philosophy, and one that I wish I had discovered years ago.”   Having worked with Save The Children in revamping some of their shops into ‘Mary’s Living and Giving’ shops and raising £11m for the charity, Portas was inspired by the volunteers that worked for free in the shops: ”they had a sense of duty,..they would turn up every day, same time, and do their thing. It was gorgeous”.  This inspiration led her to completely re-brand her retail agency, ‘Portas’, to be more aligned with the culture of these shops, changing a company in ”the tough world of marketing and communications” with as she put it ”the traditional masculine business approach of profit, competition, you’re fired’, to a company based on a philosophy of giving, with a culture based on trust, respect, kindness and emotion, and she says, with great results.  

How?  By bringing heart into her business.

Another example: the CEO of the US company Vaynermedia, is so committed to creating a positive culture for his workforce that he has created the role of Chief Heart Officer – what a fantastic title!   Seen as the CEO’s 2nd in command, Claude Silver describes her job as ‘serving others and mentoring a workforce of 750’.  Talking to Forbes this month she says of her relationship with the workforce “I work for them they don’t work for me. I am here to be of service.”  
Employing a Chief Heart Officer is a major statement by a company of how they view their workforce – but we can all contribute to a great culture ourselves, every day, and generate one including joy, respect and compassion, all by bringing our hearts to work.

Here are some tips on bringing this to the workplace every day:

  • Question any old & formal processes, are they needed for real compliance or a legacy from the 1970’s that de humanise culture?
  • Remember that where you work is actually a group of human beings that service others in some way – all wanting do to their best.   
  • Most of us conform to what we find at work.  Be innovative and look at things as you would if it were your own company or life, and make positive changes.
  • Be yourself, not who you think you should be.  Work to drop any mask you wear at work, any self-consciousness and be the real you, humanising the workplace.
  • Have courage to speak up positively and make a difference via the decision makers.
  • As a leader or manager – connect regularly with your team, and show your human side; admit mistakes and show vulnerability.
  • Smile, enjoy what you are doing, and do it in a way that reflects the very best of what you are good at, and truly reflects you at heart.

Are Power Games Killing Your Relationships?

Business Growth Inspiration

This week my normal pattern of train commute has changed – I’ve been lucky enough to have early starts at my desk and take late morning trains – lovely! 

With later trains I’ve been joined by holiday travellers. Sat amongst this mix, what has shocked me is the dominance and power that one side of a couple can exude, and I’ve seen again and again, an underlying steaming anger.  What’s going on?
What is it about relationships that means we want to have power within them, and what stops us standing up for ourselves when others try to have power over us?

We see this in leadership personas all the time – dominance and submission. 
Not every business fosters this environment but many do. 
And it’s toxic. 
It destroys confidence, courageousness and engagement.  


There are many types of power and many potentially outdated theories around it.  An interesting one however is French and Raven (1959), and later Raven (1974), stating that there are six bases of social power:


Reward Power:  the ability to give rewards when others comply with your wishes.  This may not work from one setting to the next.  For example, an employee might laugh at a boss’s joke, but the boss’s neighbour might not.

Coercive Power:  the opposite of Reward Power.  It’s the ability to deliver punishments.  While coercion can be effective in the short-term, it creates resentment and individuals will try to end the relationship.

Referent Power:  where role models come into play.  Referent Power is when somebody wants to be like you.  They identify with you.  You are their reference model.  They find you attractive in some way and they model your behaviour or thinking. 

Legitimate Power:  power that comes from a position or role.  It’s positional authority.  For example, you “should” or “ought” to listen to your parents, or your boss.  The unique aspect of legitimate power is that it’s not about rational arguments — the power comes from the position or role. 

Expert Power: “knowledge is power”, where expertise or knowledge is the source. This is where credentials, awards, and know-how play a role.  You end up deferring to greater knowledge for the area of expertise, such as a doctor or mechanic.  It’s limited to the area of expertise. 

Informational Power: the most transitory type of power.  Once you give your information away, you lose the power, e.g. you share the secret, the power is gone.  It’s different from other forms of power because it’s grounded in what you know about the content of a specific situation. 

What types of power do you experience? 

  • How good is your self-awareness? 
  • Is there a fragile base to your need or habit of power? 
  • Are you damaging connections or people by using power? 
  • Do you depend on knowledge for power – and if so, what happens when you don’t have the answers?
  • Are you consciously looking at the impact of power within your workplace?  

At Courageous Success we talk about not giving your power away – we all have the ability to control our emotional response.  

So, what power games are you playing? 

Is Your Cynicism Hurting You & Your Business?

From Courageous Success Inspiration

Psychology Today reports that a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology has found a link between cynicism and economic success.

Researchers evaluated data from around the world and discovered that high levels of cynicism are associated with lower income. Researchers report that after nine years, cynical participants earned $300 per month less than their more positive counterparts.
I agree totally with Rich Karlgaard, when he shares in his book, The Soft Edge: Where Companies Find Lasting Success, that “…mocking irony, snark and cynicism are toxic to your company’s culture…when it thrives in an organization, it signals a lack of employee trust. Once cynicism gets a foothold in your culture, it spreads — just like an ill-advised tweet or blog post. You need to proactively fight it.’’
As a crusader for change in workplace culture and how we develop people at work, it shocks me how even many HR & Learning and Development people are cynical.
Take the example of our experience days and afternoons.
They are free.

You get a free iAM – potentially life changing. 

You get a free morning of personal development – potentially career changing. 

You get a free delicious lunch or afternoon tea – yes, they totally exist in the realism of normal human kindness. 

And you get a free 1:1 development session and the opportunity to learn from others – potentially business changing.

And yet for some, maybe even you, ask, “what’s the catch”?
What is wrong with kindness, giving, receiving and no catch in business?  Our cynicism appears to have taken over.  What are your immediate reactions to something that seems “too good to be true?”
In the last week in my business world three people have offered help, ideas and introductions out of pure kindness and a will to make a difference to the world, to spread our foothold in transforming the way the world develops people – as a force for good in the world.  Not out for themselves and what can they get out of it. But for you, for us!
Do I react with cynicism? No! I say thank you and offer to help right back. Yet this exchange of human giving and kindness appears to be severely eroding in our business cultures.
Cynicism is a psychological self-protection mechanism and a habit that is eroding our workplace culture and stifling innovation in how we work.
Are you in L&D & HR? Come to one of our Experience days or afternoons and get some amazing change for yourself, your career and your business, without cynicism, for free!
Not in L&D & HR?  Recognise kindness, engagement and help and accept it! Give it and encourage it without cynicism and feel its power to grow you, others and your business.
By doing so you will be helping to transform our business world.