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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Dreams don’t work unless you do

Every single one of us has dreams we want to achieve. Some are big and some are small but inside us we crave to that success or break to get ahead. People often look at successful people and think they are lucky or have had a break to get where they are but the truth couldn’t be further from that as anyone who is successful has put in the work, driven by their dreams to get those opportunities and I guarantee it was not a straight road they took.

Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to work with very talented people, some a lot more talented than me. The most frustrating thing I saw though is when this talent was not matched with the effort to take these individuals where they could go in their career.

Personally I never looked at the individuals in my office or the country I was working in at the time, but rather I would look at the very best in my industry and aimed to be as good as them. Knowing that these people were world class creative or strategist I knew I had to work twice as hard to get anywhere near them in my career. So that is what I have always done.

So whatever dreams you have in your career or life it’s time to stop waiting for it to happen and start putting the effort in that will carry you through the a better life. Don’t get caught up in the small things that happen in your home, your office or with your friends. Don’t even be put off if things don’t go the direction you want either. Sometimes your road will lead you to a better place where more opportunities lay ahead.

You are the only person that can create change in your life and if you want it enough you will have to put that extra effort in to get it. Try thinking and visualizing of that moment when you have achieved a dream and then ask yourself, ‘what am I willing to do to make this happen, to have this feeling and to experience that incredible joy of achieving your dream.’ It’s okay to daydream about these moments; in fact I recommend it as it helps build that drive.

No matter where you are in life, no matter how many things have not gone your way, you can still start on that journey today to achieving your dreams. I have had more than my fair share of bad luck, wrong choices and missed opportunities along my journey but this hasn’t dulled my ambition one single bit, in fact I’m just getting started…And so should you!

 

Grip that steering wheel of life, put on your seat belt and push down the accelerator pedal, hard!

Have you ever had the feeling that your life could be compared to sitting in a car driving at top speed going round bends, over bumps and squeezing between other cars yet you don’t feel you even have control of the steering wheel?

This is a feeling that I think we all go through at times. Sometimes the drive is exhilarating, enjoyable and fun, a roof down, and wind in your hair dream drive. Other times, it can be terrifying, painful and you are just waiting for a mighty thump of everything to come crashing down around you.

Almost every person I meet seems to have this look that they are hanging on by their fingernails and if just one thing would work out everything would be okay, it would give them a pause to breath, to possibly enjoy the ride.

The journey we all take is never a single straight road and can be compared to a long distance journey filled with country lanes, motorways and busy city streets. Not forgetting that along this journey there are always bumps in the road, bends that are hard to navigate and more than once you will end up going down a dead end street and have to turn back and start a section all over again.

All these mishaps and challenges often feel like the end of the world or that you feel the road is just doing everything it can to make the journey as difficult as possible. But once we get past those various obstacles we realise there is a difference in how we approach the next challenge, and the next and so on. Looking back down the road we usually tell stories about the bumps in the road and the near misses as anecdotal snippets amongst friends.

Most of the time they will bring a smile to your face as you realise how much you’ve grown, learned and developed. Not always, but sometimes! So take heart where you are on this journey and see how much you’ve travelled as a person. One way or another you have grown so much and no matter what life hurled at you, you just kept moving forward.

So grip that steering wheel of life, put on your seat belt and push down the accelerator pedal, hard! Take on the next challenge with confidence and give it everything you’ve got. Nothing has stopped you, no matter what you have faced, you are here right now in life a better person, so fear nothing, and look down the road to a better, happier you because great things could be waiting just around the corner.

 

 

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.

Everyone needs a hero

No matter who you are, where you live or what you do, there is always someone who can influence you. A heroic figure that, for any reason, makes you smile, makes you feel good about yourself or at the very least makes you want to be a better person. It gives us something to aim at, something to strive for on a daily basis and breaks that monotony of being in a rut which can so easily happen when we are just going through the motions of life.

My father has always been a hero of mine. I always thought that if I could be half the father to my kids that he was to my brother and I, they would be very lucky. Another hero of mine is Steve Jobs, predictable I know but the man’s ambition, drive and insight into what drives (drove) Apple to it’s lofty heights is nothing short of remarkable. Another hero would be Richard Branson, I do not have the words to describe my respect for this man and I am sure if he went into politics he would be living in number 10 Downing Street! Such is the love for the man by the real people of England who want it to return to greatness, or at least instill some long lost pride!

I have other hero’s from photography, design, typography, advertising and so on. In fact my life is full of hero’s that in everything I do I try to be the best I can be. It is something that my first hero, my father, instilled into my brother and I, as children. A real superman who put others before himself and gave us everything we ever wanted. Of course he couldn’t have done it alone and a super woman behind him, my mother. Who is your hero?

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!

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!