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London 2012. The Best of British.

Having moved from Australia to the UK in 2000, I watched the Sydney Olympics on TV in our Surrey lounge room. I definitely felt some patriotic pride when the President of the IOC declared that they had been “the best games ever.”

I’m still proudly Australian, but I have to say I’ve enjoyed the 2012 London Olympic Games most of all.

It wasn't just because the TV coverage was the best ever or that I was able to experience going to the Games for the first time in my life.

Beyond that, there was something particularly inspiring about the impact of these Olympics.

My disappointment with Australia’s overall results was more than compensated for by the pleasure of seeing so much joy and confidence being felt by the British, thanks to:
(1) the world beating performance of so many of their athletes; and

Go on ... Nobody would ever know!

Lent Day 4.

Some friends come over for dinner. Dessert looks great but I'm able to calmly refuse it in line with my commitment to giving up sugary foods including chocolates. Our friends bring over a box of beautiful chocolate truffles and my wife suggests that perhaps I could have "just one". I say "no" to demonstrate my commitment.

And then some hours later, I find myself all alone with the opened box ....

The voice of temptation starts up: "Those are really good quality truffles, you love them and you've been really good so far, so go on just have one. Nobody need know!"

Now I have to admit that I went very close to "sneaking" one!

But who am I trying to fool? And why am I doing this whole Lent thing anyway? Nobody else really gives a damn whether I do it or not.

The whole purpose is to demonstrate to myself that I can rise above the temptation.

If I "cheat", then the only person I'm really letting down is me!

The Power of a Decision

It's only early days but I noticed something very interesting yesterday.

Having made the decision to give up sugary food for Lent, I experienced the power of clarity and it was very liberating.

Normally, I would have had a brief tussle between two internal voices.

One would be like a small demanding child saying, "I want to have that!"

The other would be the controlling parent saying, "I shouldn't have that and I don't really need it"

More often than not, the needy demanding child within would win the battle.

Can you resist temptation? Can I?

At the age of 51, I'm about to do something I've never done before. Join me on my journey to see how hard or easy I find it...

I grew up in a family that followed the tenets of Christianity. I recall my dad once giving up meat for Lent (a big step for an Australian farmer who had a plentiful supply of quality fresh beef and lamb!).

Two Words to Help You Do Amazing New Things!

Last week, we took our 10 year old, Matthew, to view a secondary school that he might go to. When we saw a beautifully drawn picture of a human hand done by one of the art students, Matthew declared, "I couldn't do that" and, feeling inadequate, immediately left the room.

Instead of seeing his possibility, he saw his inability. He completely missed the exciting point that this was a place where he could learn to do things like that!

When marvelling at the skill of another (e.g. in singing, drawing, dancing, writing, or technology), have you ever made the mistake of thinking, "I could never do that"?

Stanford Psychologist Carol Dweck noticed the difference between a "fixed mindset" and a "growth mindset". Now people may vary in their innate abilities and potential, but which of these mindsets they choose can have a huge impact.

People with a fixed mindset assume their capabilities are already set. They therefore place a limit on themselves and will miss opportunities.

Those with a growth mindset recognise that application and experience enables them to achieve more in life. And so they usually do!

Go Slow to Go Fast!

Today in London I had coffee with a fellow Australian who holds non-executive chairman roles and has held some very senior executive positions in his distinguished career. I was keen to learn his views on what emerging leaders need to know and do to ensure their career success.

Having committed myself to accelerating the development of the next generation of leaders, I find it helpful to either reinforce or extend my existing knowledge on the subject.

His comments did both.

We agreed that some things have changed since his days as a young leader stepping up into big roles in his 20's and 30's, compared to today's new generation of leaders. These include:

  • There used to be more middle management roles to enable progression
  • Career path choices were more simple and straight forward

How to Kick the Imposter Syndrome

On Saturday, I gave a talk about the "imposter syndrome."

It is not uncommon for emerging leaders to experience the imposter syndrome when they step up into a much bigger role at a relatively young age. Excitement about the opportunity is often mixed with some fear of failure.

Here is a simple approach that will help you get the balance right and build your confidence.

We can experience the imposter syndrome when we find ourselves in a situation and then start to question whether we're actually good enough to be there, and whether we'll cope with any challenges. There is a little voice inside our head telling us that we may fail because we are trying to do something we've not done before. We can feel like a fraud, waiting to be found out!

How we relate with that little voice makes all the difference.

Here are 3 different ways (illustrated by examples from my own life):

Example 1.

Encouraging Courageous Leadership

They say that public speaking is the Number 1 fear. So imagine having to do it when you've had a lifelong stammer and you're going to be the King! Tonight I went to see the brilliant movie, The King's Speech. It is an inspiring true story about a leader and the man who encouraged him to push through his fear.

I must confess I was unaware of how King George VI (father of Queen Elizabeth II) had to overcome his affliction of stammering, particularly after his brother Edward VIII abdicated from the throne, leaving George with no alternative but to step into the crucial figurehead role when Britain was entering World War II.

Childhood trauma carried into adult life was clearly a factor behind his afflication and it was the unorthodox methods of an ex-actor from Australia, Lionel Logue, that helped prepare him physically and mentally for leadership and speaking powerfully.