Will failure define you or propel you?

The Internet is full of people talking about failure. Whereas some use the term fail often or even fail more, others seem to resent the term failure as some kind of weakness or a sign people accept that it is okay to fail.

Now although I understand where both sides are coming from I feel the focus is in the wrong area. I have personally experienced both sides of this coin first hand when working around the world.

In my career, I worked for American companies on global teams and handled the Middle East region where the thinking around failure was simply a learning process, a stepping stone if, and this is the main point; if you acquired experience or bounced back from failure stronger. People admired this or celebrated your achievement and strength. In the UK however, things are very different.

In the UK people get very nervous if you say you had any failure in your career. Whether this was a business or a position you may have held, it is shunned and brushed under the carpet as if that experience defines you as a person, as in you are a failure! This is regardless of what you achieved after that experience.

I have, like everyone, had very dark moments in my personal and professional life and although they were frightening and even life-threatening at times I can tell you the person I came out the other side of each one of these moments is a stronger, more knowledgeable and experienced individual. These moments are not something you can learn on a course or in a book you have to go through them to gain experience that you have to use in the next part of your life. Failure is a single moment, something that is temporary if you have the right attitude or defeat if you allow it.

And this really is the key for me regarding failure, it is not whether a failure is something that should be shunned, hidden or even celebrated. It is the action that follows failure that is what defines us, it is what we do with that experience, hurt and even pain after a failure that is where the whole discussion should be focused. Because after failure, you have a choice to either believe you have a limit of what you can achieve in this life, or you learn from the experience and use it to propel yourself to greatness!

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In life, No dream can be realized whilst you remain asleep

We all do it. We all sit and wonder if we can achieve the dreams we have harbored for years. The passion within burns so brightly, the desire pulses through every vein in our body, the appetite to achieve is insatiable…yet we remain asleep.

No one has been guilty of this more than me. What fears hold us back? Whether it’s a fear of failure, ridicule, exclusion or whatever, are all feelings that do not exist unless you allow them to manifest in your life. Every negative force that is holding you back has been created by you. Because we allow external influences to dictate who we are, what we are worth and how we should live our life. So wake up!

Wake up and realize that you are in control of your life, you are the one that will make your dreams come to life, you are the one that will fill your mind with positivity and love for the incredible person you are. Wake up and live the life you have been gifted because at the end of the day it is only you that goes back to sleep knowing, “I did everything I could to live my dreams.”

Sweet dreams everyone, but don’t forget to wake up and make them happen!

Do you have that song HOT DAGGER?

This was the question my son asked me last night when we were out in the car. It was just him and myself as he had bumped his head an we went to the clinic to check he was okay. He was so as we headed home he started flicking through the songs on the radio to see what he could find. I usually let him or his sister do this because a) It’s nice to see the kind of music they each like and b) it keeps them from breaking anything else in my car!

He had been flicking through a few times and started going quicker through the stations when I had to stop him. There is nothing worse than hearing a single second of a song before being hit with another, and another, and another. I asked what was wrong and he looked really deep in concentration and after a few seconds he finally said, “Do you have that song ‘Hot Dagger?” Now I am no music expert by I do have a very wide taste in music and can recall most songs but this was one that I couldn’t get. So I asked him when he had heard it before.

He began telling me he had heard it on the school bus, which told me it could only be one of four Dubai radio stations and they all, except one play up to date music. But I really couldn’t grasp what it was. Then suddenly, like many times in my work I had a flash of a song that sounded like the one he meant. So I gave him my phone and told him to skip down through my ipod and select a certain song. His face lit up when it cme on and it really made me laugh. The song he wanted was not ‘HOT DAGGER’ but rather, Maroon Five and Christina Aguilera’s latest hit, “MOVES LIKE JAGGER!”

Your dreams may be closer than you think

Many times in our lives we look around and see others seemingly floating through life without a care in the world. Things just seem to happen easily for them and dreams just seem to be falling in their laps. In comparison we often have the impression we are standing still, or worse going backwards. Our dreams seem to be distant shadows far off on the horizon in a foggy day, a feeling that can break even the strongest of spirits.

But what do not often realize is the people who we are watching are having the same struggles, but with one difference. The difference is simply not accepting that things are impossible, accepting that with a little hard work and luck one dream could come true. I firmly believe positive thoughts bring a positive return from the universe and if you truly believe a dream you have is possible, it will bring you within reach. I say within reach because just thinking something will never achieve anything, that’s the easy part. We have to set the wheels in motion ourselves by planning and actively moving towards your dreams. You may decide the original dream was not what you thought it promised, but the place you will find yourself is a place where things are a little clearer, the fog has lifted and you can see dreams everywhere.

I, like most people, have faced disappointment with business failures or rejection from a company I really wanted to work for, but that is just part of life. How would you appreciate climbing a mountain if anyone could just stroll up and plant a flag at the top without any effort? Whatever you dream of doing, try to make it happen or at least start today by putting the wheels in motion to get you closer, and remember it is not always about the final destination but rather what you learn on the journey. Happy trails and good luck.

The beauty of social media

Social media has the power to do many things. It helps to inform people about natural disasters, helps companies communicate directly with consumers, Helps people discuss, learn, educate and hear the latest news about topics they are passionate about. Social Media also helps people of all ages come together in ways we, probably, have never seen in the history of our race. It’s an exciting step, but with it comes a word caution.

With everything in our world that is good there has to be the balance of bad that we need to understand before making judgments about whether something should be stopped or celebrated. It happened with comic books in the early part of their history, claiming to be creating a culture of negativity and violence. This is something we have also seen with movies, games and anything new, because new things make people nervous. Not everyone is able to embrace change so easily.

But we need to look at what we have and what social media has given people in all corners of our world. For some it is the only place to be themselves or even interact with people without judgment, prejudice or dependant on the physical attributes of who they are. In a world where the media has distorted our own image of what beauty really is, social media puts substance over appearance at the head of the class. In a world full of eating disorders, plastic surgery and self hate about how we look, Social Media is helping give people confidence in the person inside rather than an exterior image that is currently portrayed on the covers of magazines, and that, is a beautiful thing!

Why social media can be more real than the real world

Social media has been taking a real battering all over the world during the past year. From Iran, Egypt, Bahrain and even places like London questioning whether social media should be allowed to maintains it’s place in our lives has shocked many people to their core. When Iran closed Twitter and facebook there was uproar around the world as it showed a so called oppressive state in action. Equally, when Hosni Mubarak did the same in Egypt, every corner of the globe condemned the dictatorship and rallied with the protestors. So was London any different?

Well London was fueled by people who just wanted to cause trouble and steal. This had nothing to do with a person being shot, it had nothing to do with anything other than mindless fools trying to make the most out of a difficult situation. But surely the answer is not to turn off the power, especially in a country that prides itself on freedom of speech and respect for all. Surely Social Media, although a place where people can arrange things, is also a place where authorities can monitor the trouble makers and make arrests where necessary? So rather than being a problem for the police, it actually, if they use it right, will be an added area of security.

To shut down social media anywhere will take away from people who have truly found a voice in a world where they have felt alienated, lonely and separated from a chance to connect with people on a daily basis. It is no exaggeration to say that for some people the social media ecosystem is the only place that they really feel happy, comfortable and part of a community. And surely, isn’t that something we should all fight for?

Should’ve, could’ve and would’ve are all holding you back

Do you relive conversations wondering or second-guessing what you could’ve or should’ve said? Do you spend time worrying about what a certain word or phrase ‘really’ meant in an email or discussion you had the day before? I know I have! In fact I have to work very, very hard not to waste my time over analyzing every single conversation, presentation, argument or whatever I have, because the truth is it just doesn’t do anything to help me move forward.

In fact these words would’ve, could’ve and should’ve tend to hang like baggage around your neck, dragging along the floor behind you. The more you worry the heavier the dragging mess of concern becomes and the burden is just too much for anyone. The slower walk, gradually brings you to a halt in life.

You could of course add if, maybe and many more words to the things that are holding you back in life. So why don’t we cut free? Well if you are like me, you tend to be strolling merrily through life one day only to suddenly realize the walk is not as easy as it was the day or week before. And here is where you can change the way you live your life.

You could start, as I am trying to, analyzing what it is that is troubling you. But rather than start to relive the same experiences over and over again, just try to quickly to understand what was said and what you learned from that moment. Memories are wonderful things, but life is too short to be reliving old moments, especially when there are millions of new ones waiting for you around the corner. So try to remember not to take excess luggage as you travel through life; It just costs you more than you really should to be paying.

Maybe, the only limits are in your mind

Do you believe that some people are lucky and others are not? Do you think that no matter what you do in your life you will never achieve your dreams? Then you are the one that is holding you back. You are the barrier that is stopping you move ahead in life and you are the pushing away all the wonderful things that your life could be. And I have been the worst culprit at this in times of my life, but it taught me valuable lessons I keep with me today.

Life happens! Things go wrong, financial crises appear only two months after you start a business (Yes this happened to me!) and you se other people seemingly float through life whilst you are stuck in the quagmire of doubt. The power of the mind is something we are still far from truly understanding, but stop for a minute, and just look around. Take Steven Hawkings, A man whose body is literally wasting away before his eyes due to motor neurone disease. But the man is a giant due to the power of his mind.

Steven Hawkings, a man who seems to have more letters after his name than actually in it, continues to amaze the world with his insights and his determination that no obstacle will come into his way as he makes the most out of his life. We can’t all be as clever as Steven, But we are not all faced with his difficulties, so whatever is in the way of you right now, you have to believe you can over come it and achieve everything you want. You have to reach for the stars and try to reach the unreachable, you may surprise yourself along the way. Good luck!

Have the confidence to walk through any negativity

No matter what you do in life, personal or professional, there will be people who have negative thoughts or actions towards you. Most of the time it is not even something conscious by them, but rather something that just stems from their personality or situation they are in at the time. The confidence you have in yourself will be half the battle, your actions in putting your plan into action, will do the rest.

Self doubt is one of the main reasons for failure in life. There are, of course, many situations that are just impossible to avoid, such as the recent financial crises, but confidence in yourself can help you overcome anything that comes in your path. You can, for example, imagine your confidence being like your health, if you do not exercise and eat correctly your health will suffer.

It is the same thing with confidence, it’s a constant process of building up your self esteem, giving yourself a pat on the back and making sure, on top of the big goals you have, have smaller goals that are attainable and reward yourself along the way. This helps immensely in gaining the momentum you need to succeed.

Very soon you will realize that you don’t even see or feel the negativity any more, because your focus is on the positive aspects of what you are doing and where you are going. So as you walk forward today, do so with confidence; and nothing will get in your way.

Change, there’s no time like the present

I recently spoke to a friend who was asking me what it was like traveling the world and did I regret leaving the UK when I did. I asked him why he was asking the question, as we talk all the time and I sensed there was something behind the need to ask me. He told me that he was thinking of traveling for work and just wanted to know my thoughts about the subject.

The truth is I left England when I was 23, worked in Paris and Amsterdam before moving to the Middle East. I have worked all over the Middle East and had some incredible experiences along the way. I told my friend that I always knew that at any time I wanted, I could go back. In fact the first year away I kept my return ticket pinned to a notice board in my office. I had good and bad experiences of course, but every single one changed me as a person, a change that has helped me be the person I am today, and I can still always go back. But the truth is I just want to keep exploring.

I told my friend this and there was a pause. I asked him, “What do you expect to change in the coming year that will help you decide to try something new?” He told me quickly, “Nothing!” So I just said to him, “Then there is no time like the present to change your life if the worst that can happen is that you are in the same position next year you are in now back at home?” I continued, “But, the difference being, you will have experienced something that will change you for the better, forever!”

I hope he tries something different, even if it is not traveling around the world. After all change always cleanses the soul and gives you a fresh look on where you are and where you are going, I know, I have experienced it first hand, many times!