Waistcoats & Winning!

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

What can we learn from the 2018 England World Cup team?!

Love it or not, it’s estimated by Fifa that a whopping 46% of the global population watched this year’s World Cup.

Forget whether they won or lost, there has still been lots to learn from the England team over the last few weeks about what makes a winning team.
Despite losing the semi-final this week, the unanimous response to the team’s overall World Cup performance has been positive – at last a team to be proud of.  There has been many UK media columns dedicated to analysing the apparent cultural and performance turnaround of the England team.  Much of it credited to Manager Gareth Southgate, described in the UK press as; emotionally intelligent, humble and even a national treasure, his reputation boosted when he took time to empathise and comfort a Colombian player who missed a penalty against England.  The hero worship has gone far and wide, not only of his team management but also his style in waistcoats, now reportedly sold out in M&S, and no doubt fuelled by “#waistcoatwednesday”!

An article in the Guardian this week talked about the team’s training, having had an emphasis on mental performance along with physical performance, an approach that, according to Gareth Southgate, has created a team “….transformed from previous incarnations.… it now comes across as a hungry, humble team, playing with lightness and joy.’’  Also backed up with one player, Dele Alli, claiming beforehand that he was “excited, not nervous,” about playing in England’s first World Cup semi-final in 28 years.  A great example of re-framing a situation in a positive way.
It seems, and many commentators are making this link, that the England team are more free and unburdened from fear….of failure, of the expectation of others, of the wrath of the manager.

Despite  the semi-final loss, the team has achieved more than any other England team in over a quarter of a century.  The most common words used about the team’s performance the day after the semi-final, along with pride in their achievement, have been:  decent, respectful, humble, no egos, calm, “a polite Englishman” – Southgate – and a “bunch of ordinary modern lads”.
All of this feedback is great and positive, and is a refreshing change on how the UK media have previously judged the English team.  However should there also be some words of caution along with the praise? Amid all of this calmness, there still needs to be a team collective fire in the belly to win, high energy, risk taking and persistence, the ability to really step up when up against it.

Here are our winning tips on what can be learnt from the ‘winning’ England team:

  • Really get to know your team mates, what matters to them, what drives them, what has shaped them in the past, iAM values can help, or encourage team conversations and simple socials.
  • Embrace failure – as an opportunity to learn and develop rather than beating yourself up about what went wrong, dwelling on what is wrong with you, and not moving on.  Failure proves that you, or a member of your team are trying.
  • Don’t take things personally – stay open to new ideas, think about the greater good rather than hanging onto your idea or what you want and not being able to see past it.
  • Be like Southgate, don’t conform to how you think you should be or behave – do it your way. A nation has taken Gareth Southgate to its heart due to his authenticity.
  • Avoid negativity – either in yourself or others, negativity breeds powerlessness.
  • Make friends with fear, re-frame it as an energy and excitement and don’t let it hold you back. 
  • Be prepared to take risks

Being Brave & Courageous Every Day!

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

“We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run down.” Nye Bevan

In the week the UK is celebrating 70 years of one of it’s best loved institutions, the National Health Service, we thought it would be good to talk about courage and bravery.  Nye Bevan is described as courageous in his support and drive to introduce a free national health service for all, despite much opposition at the time, from fellow MP’s and the medical establishment.  Nye stood firm in his belief, even when the costs were much higher than anticipated.  His courage has had a lasting effect, as Gordon Brown has said,  “the astonishing fact is that Bevan’s vision has stood both the test of time and the test of change unimaginable in his day.”
In the same week, here at Courageous Success, we are celebrating being awarded contracts with three global businesses, all of whom have been part of our decade long journey to help people to be themselves at work, and we’ve never given up!How courageous are you?  Score yourself (honestly!), on the statements below, using a scale of 1-10, with 10 being high. 

  1. I like challenge.
  2. I love action.
  3. I prefer flexible multi-tasking to routine and rhythm in my day.
  4. I am more ‘energetic and excited’ than ‘better safe than sorry’.
  5. I persist and stretch myself.
  6. I am not on autopilot, when I get to the end of my day I can remember what I’ve done.
  7. I embrace feedback as an opportunity to learn.
  8. I like to create and innovate.
  9. I am always looking to improve things.
  10. I am excited by being myself and making a difference. 
If your score is low – what could you be missing out on?
Maybe you find that sometimes you can answer mostly high and other times answer mostly low. What stops us being our most brave and courageous self every day?

We love this quote by the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh:  “The longest journey you will ever take is the 18 inches from your head to your heart.”
If courage comes from the heart, it’s the stuff that is in our heads that can get in the way.
We know, from taking a random and anonymous sample of iAM questionnaires, that the vast majority of us, along with the positives, use words like doubting, worrier, overthinking and lacking confidence, when describing ourselves. These negative thoughts act like barriers in our minds, stopping us having the courage to take a leap of faith every day.   We doubt ourselves and fear failure, so we stick to safe.
Courageous Success is a verb – it’s about maximising who you are and what you are capable of. It’s being braver.
The consequences of not having it? Self-doubt, complacency, coasting, watching other businesses and people do better than you – staying in the middle of the road.  Imagine what you could achieve by applying courage, grit, a hint of that gutsy, adventurous feeling every day.
When did you last push yourself or even venture outside of your comfort zone?  When did you trust, have faith and follow the clues rather than always sticking to set process?  How many days do you spend achieving very little, yet still feel exhausted and busy?  Want to change it?  Then start today.What would it feel like to step into your personal power and unleash your amazing self?

Here are our four key tips: 

  • Think of the last time you felt incredible, unstoppable, full of confidence – at your best.   
    Make a list of words that describes how it felt e.g. powerful, full of energy, daring, courageous, I can do anything. 
  • Challenge yourself at work, what have you been putting off? Now grab it and get stuck in! 
  • Keep your power: don’t let the mood of others affect you – who do you know at work that drains you?  It’s their problem not yours, leave their mood with them and don’t take it on.
  • Believe in yourself.

You Already Are Inspiring!

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

85% of workers worldwide admit to hating their jobs when surveyed anonymously, and especially hate their boss.  Gallup poll 2017.

WOW!  For the benefit of this blog I will ignore the job and focus on the boss – you!
Let me cut straight to the chase.  We know from our work that everyone, and yes, EVERYONE is inspiring when they stop conforming, proving and rebelling and become themselves.  The problem is that we are not being ourselves at work.  So what’s taking you all so long?!

In her Forbes article, Kathy Caprino (women@forbes) shares five characteristics of inspiring people gathered from her own research.  She shares;

  1. They have immense courage.
  2. They have deep empathy for others.
  3. They express love and appreciation openly, and foster equality.
  4. They are emotionally healthy and healed.
  5. They believe in collective power.

For me, this is a tall order and shows inspiration in terms of world domination.  But if you reflect on each of these five and come down to the reality of day to day work, there is a lesson here for all of us.  I would translate these five into;

  1. They have conviction and take a few risks, change things now and again and are open to the new.
  2. They talk about and show how much they care for the people in their team.
  3. They share their appreciation openly and treat everyone the same.
  4. They are emotionally mature and don’t make everything about themselves.
  5. They are inclusive and bring people in.

Is this really so hard?
No, you just need to be the whole and real you.

Here are some tips to inspire!;

  • Be the same person at work as at home, you’ll feel and come across as more real and natural.
  • Don’t conform. None of us have ‘professional’ written on our hearts!  Be informal and normal.
  • Are you playing to your role at work? If your job title was removed tomorrow – how would that change how you think about your work and your contribution?
  • If you have an iAM – have you shared your values and do you know your team’s values?
  • If you don’t have an iAM (speak to us!);  share what’s important to you with your team and ask the same of them – create a shared team purpose.
  • Book team time.  You don’t have to climb a mountain or build a raft (a waste of time), but simply being together, working, planning and focusing on your relationships together will bring you closer as a team.
  • Make friends at work. Remembering that our colleagues are funny and real people, rather than just roles, humanises the workplace.
  • If you need to have a difficult conversation, think about how you’d approach this out of work, with either friends or your kids, and then do the same with your team.

Courageous Success clients, as a result of iAM personal values, truly understand themselves at heart, and report the positive impact on their leadership as 85%.

Put You at the Heart of Your Success.

The Ultimate Work Mask!

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

Hiding My Chronic Illness at Work Nearly Killed Me!

An ex Wall St Trader, Jim Curtis, recently shared with Fast Company how he really paid the price for hiding his chronic back pain at work, as the headline says, it nearly killed him. In the article he shares; ”I was definitely depressed. You don’t realize what a toll that takes …I was more charming .. I learned quickly [to be] charming to manipulate people into not asking what was wrong with me, and because I was happy–seemingly–and the best at what I was doing, no one really questioned me.’’

Wow – an extreme version of masking at work, however, we know that being a different person at work v’s how you are at home is all too common.                                                                              

Our research shows that on average 70% of us are more ourselves at home than at work.




When we first work with clients we ask them to score out of 10 the question: “I have one me – I know who I am – I am the same person at work and at home”, the majority of people score this as low. We can all mask at work, due to fear, wanting to fit in or fit the mould, to be liked. We do it both consciously and un-consciously and choose to hide aspects of ourselves at work.

In Jim Curtis’s case, trying to live up to a perception that isn’t true, ”…(the) perception of who I was, was this macho guy; I was an athlete and I had a plan to work on Wall Street, so I did it. It couldn’t have been a worse choice.’’

A kind and thoughtful boss eventually got Jim to open up, and he shares his story to help others be themselves. He now works for a company that has a culture of  ”non-judgmental kindness that is fostering basic human qualities…”, and he advises: ”…connect and see the human side of everything, including yourself…be authentic.”

Bringing the ‘whole you’ to work has been discussed this week at the Good Day at Work conference in London (reported in HR Magazine), and been highlighted as an important factor in people being happy at work.  On the discussion panel, Jo Hunter, co-founder and CEO of creativity social enterprise 64 Million Artists said; “People often turn up to work with a certain persona that they’re wearing and when everyone does this we don’t know how to relate to each other. If the work environment doesn’t allow us to turn up as ourselves, rather than these personas, this can shut us down.”  Also, Robert Winston, renowned professor of science and society and fertility expert, shared his own experience:  “In my lab I’m probably one of the least intelligent people, but what I’ve done is create an environment where we can be ourselves… and I think that is one of the most important things.” 
We know that when we bring more of ourselves to work we take control of our motivation & engagement. Putting the real you at the centre of your success gets amazing results:

An 88% impact on your positivity and happiness!
Here are some of our top tips to bring the whole 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.   
  • Be conscious of your strategies.  Most of us are different people at work and at home.  Notice who you are in different environments. 
  • Stop looking for external recognition to create your confidence.  The world is rampant with the need for feedback and recognition at work.  
  • Find out who you are at heart, talk to us about discovering your iAM values.
  • Build a stronger relationship with yourself and believe in yourself.  Recognise yourself. Write a list of three or four things that make you great at your job, frame them as iAM.  E.g. iAM great at talking to people, they love sharing their ideas with me.
  • Stop waiting for others to make you happy.  Make yourself and others happy instead, in equal balance.  If you say yes to everything, what are you going to start saying no to, to make yourself happier and more effective and efficient?
  • Stop seeking approval – be honest and say what you really think. Stop trying – just be.
  • 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.
  • Finally encourage your business to put the following at the centre of their HR & People and Culture Strategies;
    ”Be yourself here, bring your whole self to work, it’s OK to be who you are at company x y or z.”

Follow Jim Curtiss’s example;
”If you share something and people don’t accept you for it, it’s not the right place for you. Judgment doesn’t bother you when you feel adequate. It’s when you are not loving yourself that you are not your own best support, and you end up sympathizing with the person who judged you.’’ 

Load more

No more posts to load.