Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Are you a weak sun?

May 17, 2012

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Just yesterday, I was reading a book where the author used the phrase ‘the sun shone weakly’.  I liked the sound of that, very poetic. When I looked up at the sky this morning, I thought I saw the exact representation of a weak sun.  If you stare at the middle of the photo, you can just about see the sun.

But then I thought about it some more and realized that the sun is not shining weakly.  It is shining just as strongly, only there are clouds (many clouds!) blocking it.  So I decided that I don’t like that phrase after all!  In fact, I think it is misleading, unhelpful and quite disempowering. 

We all have times when we seem to ‘shine weakly’ but sometimes it is just that there are a bunch of things clouding our vision and others’ vision of us.

Where in your life are you feeling like you are showing up weakly?  Feeling like you have failed or just can’t seem to get things moving the way you want?  Perhaps you are emanating strong energy and efforts, but you are being blocked by things outside of you.  

So, what to do about it?  Well, first, I recommend you acknowledge and celebrate your efforts.  Too often we only acknowledge and celebrate results and we forget to take stock of all the great things we have done and are doing to achieve those results.  I think it’s perfectly acceptable to acknolwedge every little step along the way, and in fact we do that on all of our client programs.

Then, you need to look at the things that are standing between you and and your shining glory.  If it is a person, think about the specific outcomes you want, and then have the conversation that you need to have.  If it’s technology, figure out exactly what or who could help you get things done and make the call or buy the software.  If it is your environment, pick yourself up and move – even if it’s just across the room.  

Feel the power of taking charge of things and moving forward.  Start sweeping those clouds aside so that people can see you shine.  Best of luck and let me know how you get on!

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A fresh clean page

December 31, 2011

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As we turn the calendar to another day, another month and another year, a fresh clean page awaits each and every one of us.  Actually, each new day and even each new moment represents a fresh start, if we choose to see it that way.  It’s just customary and convenient to put the emphasis on ‘the new year’.

For some people, the idea of a clean white piece of paper (or screen) is exciting and liberating.  It’s an opportunity to look ahead and create something new.  An opportunity to start over, perhaps do a better job.

For others, the blank page brings fear and uncertainty.  What will end up being written or drawn on the page?  It can be hard to make the first mark, with the worry of doing it ‘wrong’. Many people hope that the new year will bring good things and be better than the past year, but they don’t like stepping into the unknown.  In fact, probably ten times as many people face new days and years from a worried state than from an excited one. 

Maybe it doesn’t have to be one or the other.  I like to look at the page as a chance to keep going, keep creating and adding to the pages already behind.  Because, even if we look at a new page, it is still part of the overall story, and all the words, images and creations from the previous pages are part of that story as well.

Good luck to you as you embark on the next page of your life.  Remember that it is just that – one page – and there are an infinite number of things you could fill it with.  Do fill it.  Don’t leave it blank, waiting for the perfect idea or phrase or moment.  And if you are still nervous, know that you are in good company, and if you are really scared, you could always write in pencil.

As Sir Alex Fer…

November 6, 2011

As Sir Alex Ferguson celebrates 25 years as manager of Manchester United, I feel a great sense of pride and awe. Such dedication, such commitment, over so many years. And it hits me: so few people these days have that long-term stick-to-it mentality, so few people seem willing to keep going over the long haul, through the rough times as well as the smooth. So I choose to dedicate this blog to all those who have built a business or a brand over many years, and keep on building it, despite the odds. They have probably already realized the value in sticking with one thing.

There are so many benefits to a single-minded commitment strategy. Firstly, you get to forget about everything else and just focus on the one thing that inspires and delights you. I appreciate that sometimes it doesn’t seem so delightful, such as when you have a difficult financial period or difficult clients or suppliers. But the overall big picture is one that you are tied to mentally, emotionally and maybe even physically. You develop a sense of loyalty to that business and brand, to the customers and clients who rely on you. You would never dream of letting them down and so you soldier on. I have had two rough patches over the past 9 ½ years I have been building The Book Midwife. Both times I thought briefly about quitting, but I knew I could never do it. I dug deep into my soul as well as my personal financial reserves, and I came out fighting. I picture that quintessential British icon, the bulldog. I imagine him with a bone in his teeth. Yes, it can be tough, but I will never surrender…

Another great benefit to sticking with one thing for a long time is that you get better and better at it, and people get to know you for that quality. Sir Alex understands that, and so do many committed business owners I have met, who have just kept doing the same thing, tweaking and adjusting, but never wavering. Other copycats may come and go. I see them all the time in my industry. Oh, look! All of a sudden he/she claims to be an expert. I just smile because the market knows the true experts are the ones who have honed their craft and deepened their understanding and their value, and that takes time.

Some people are reluctant to commit to just one thing. They say they like variety. Well, those of us who have kept doing our one thing know that you can get variety in lots of ways. No two customers or projects will ever be the same, will they? I think the talk about variety is a smokescreen for people who are scared to choose. They fear that they will choose the wrong thing, or that they will miss out on another opportunity. Many worry that there is not enough business in just one area. Let me assure you, there is always enough business for people with deep levels of commitment and years of experience. And if you hop from one thing to another, it makes it very difficult for people to pigeon-hole, categorize or tag you, which they need to do in this busy world.

I also see people uncertain and confused about what they should commit to. That is a valid concern, and one that can be addressed so easily and effectively with good coaching. It can be hard to see all of the possibilities and it can be very valuable to have another opinion or someone to bounce things off of. By the way, if you like this idea and are a coach or other small business owner in the UK, come along to the Coaches Networking Convention next Saturday 12th November, where I will be speaking about developing your niche.

Let me conclude by raising my virtual glass to Sir Alex and wishing him the best for as long as he wants to continue in his current career. And I also toast every single committed entrepreneur who grits their teeth and carries on, no matter what. The payoff is sometimes right around the corner. There are those who quit just before they are about to succeed. And then there are those who would never quit. Their commitment and longevity will win in the long run.

Is it Time to Leave Your Philosophical Footprint?

September 19, 2011

You probably feel very alive today, but I’m guessing that one day you will no longer be here in the flesh. When that day comes, I wonder what you will be leaving behind. A family – spouse, children, grandchildren, maybe great-grandchildren? Assets? Such as a house, car or other material possessions? Or intangible assets, like a company?

You will most likely leave many of those things behind, and you will also leave behind memories and ideas. Let’s call this your philosophical footprint. All important thinkers leave a philosophical footprint on the world. Any inspirational leader, past or present, that has made an impact on you did so by sharing their unique wisdom and ideas in a way that spoke to you and moved you in some way.

About five percent of all people manage to fulfil their big dreams and create something really special in the world, something that lasts and helps people for generations to come.

I don’t know if you are in the five percent, but if you are, you will know what I am talking about! I love seeing people free their best ideas and daring thoughts so that they can take others to a new level of thinking and action. That is true leadership – thought leadership, in fact, since they move people mostly with the power of their ideas.

Now is a great time to reflect on what people will remember about you, what you said, how you made them feel and maybe even how you inspired them! Stepping through life is easy; we all do it. Leaving a lasting footprint can also be easy. You just need to choose.

If you’re a serious player, check out our Thought Leadership Retreat – you may be closer than you think to creating a lasting impact on the world.

You Want to Write a Book, But…

June 1, 2011

Perhaps you’ve thought about writing a book?

Or you know someone who has written and published their book  and it’s made you think about doing the same.

You even get excited about the idea.

 

And THEN you have some or ALL of these thoughts:

–  I have so many ideas but where do I start?

–  Will my book be interesting and unique enough?

–  Am I a good enough writer and will it get published?

–  Will people read it and like it?

 

Or, you’ve already started a book and you have some of these thoughts:

–  This is hard

–  I have writers block

–  I don’t have enough time

 

Stop there!  This is quite NORMAL, this is where everyone starts.

There is GOOD news for you.

 

I have found that ALL of my authors say the same thing:

–  When you work with the right people

–  And use a good process which is fun and easy to follow

 

It makes writing a book a REALITY.

 

My obsession with helping authors fulfil their dreams has created something NEW.

 

You can find out more, at no cost, by watching the next of my short videos

Click here NOW

 

You will also be automatically registered for a F R E E

LIVE Interactive Webinar at 7:30pm GMT on Thursday 9th June where I will reveal writing and publishing secrets, answer questions and provide feedback.

 

I look forward to seeing YOU at the webinar on 9th June at 7:30pm UK time (2:30pm EST)

Click here to find out more.

 

P.S. Many people run around in circles with the wrong book and take years to complete it – there is an alternative and it starts HERE

Click here NOW

Today is World Book Day – Should We Celebrate ALL Books?

March 3, 2011

Today is World Book Day and I want to urge you to use the event as an opportunity to celebrate those books which have most influenced you. Let’s consider all books, rather than relying on publishers with big budgets deciding which books should gain all the glory.

World Book Day is a time to celebrate the beauty of the written word and excellent books, yet why does it increasingly seem to be about which publishing house has the biggest budgets to push out free copies of their predicted bestsellers?

Read the full article here

HIGHLIGHTS from The Book Midwife

February 1, 2011

What a couple of months we’ve just had! If you have followed any of our news, you probably know about some of the exciting things we have been doing in December and January. Still, it gives me great pleasure to summarize what has been the best two months ever at our little company. I hope this report makes you smile and feel inspired to get involved!

Helping more people than ever to write and publish books

Over the past two months, my own private client list sold out as I helped 10 new private clients start their books!

Speaking

I also enjoyed presenting at the European Professional Women’s Network and the Chartered Management Institute, as well as being a guest presenter for Lisa Peck a.ka. the ‘Step it Up Queen’ and UK Sales Mentor Steve Clarke on their webinars.

Growing and Adding More Value

In January, we also trained and certified three new Book Midwife Consultants!  A very warm welcome to Sharon Eden, Bianca Kroon and Oni Bhattacharya!

The entire Book Midwife Consultancy team

There are now six of us, which means we can help even more aspiring authors to plan, write and publish their books.  So no matter which consultant they work with, clients can be assured of the same proven and award-winning system that has helped over 300 people to write their books in just 90 days!

Sharon, Bianca and Oni at our team dinner

We need to expand the team even more, especially in the U.S., so if you know a coach or consultant who has written a book and would like to help others achieve the same, please ask if they would consider training as a Book Midwife Licensed Practitioner.


Finally, the month of January ended with the first ever Thought Leadership Retreat – a very small, very exclusive two-day event especially for people who need a strategy to become the REAL thought leaders in their field.

Two delegates working on their thought leadership plans

Feedback has been very positive, and the next retreat has been planned for May.  If you would like more information, please see the website.  But you will need to be fast, as there are only 6 places available.

Lots of Lovely New Books!

And this report would not be complete without acknowledging the many Book Midwife and Ecademy Press clients who successfully launched their books in December and January.  Huge kudos to the following:

Deb Battersby, author of The Magic Mirror and the Grandma Message

Iris Clermont, author of Team Magic

Sharon Eden, author of Whack Around The Head

Hattie Hasan, author of The Joy of Plumbing

Cali Bird, author of Don’t Give Up Your Day Job

 

Cali and Mindy at the launch of Don't Give Up Your Day Job

Hmmm… I just noticed something about this list.  Can you see anything interesting?  Let me know, and let me know what we should do about it!

Well, that’s the end of the round-up!  I hope you are also having a brilliant start to the 2011.  If so, let me know so I can help you shout about it.  If not, let me know if there is anything I can do to help you shift things in the area of thought leadership, writing and publishing.  Wishing you a wonderful year ahead!

Some people think your book has no right to exist

April 22, 2010

I thought it was resolved.  I thought it was a free market and that more authors now had the right to write and publish their work.  I thought – wrongly, as it turns out – that people in the publishing industry were finally beginning to realize the benefits of democratic and open publishing, creating more opportunities for all.  Self-publishing, cooperative or partnership pubishing, publishing on the web – these are the vehicles which have allowed more people than ever to get their thoughts and ideas into the market.  It seems, however, that there are still a few people stuck in the Dark Ages.  One speaker at London Book Fair has me particularly riled this morning, and an ongoing thread on LinkedIn has me smacking my head in disbelief.

First, I must report that London Book Fair, despite only 50% of expected attendance, was a huge success for my two companies.  I had valuable meetings with people who suddenly had time in their schedules, I wasted no time waiting for food, drink or lavatories, and the whole atmosphere was more relaxed and conducive to good discussions.

One of the seminars at LBF, entitled “Not to Dare: Has British Literature Become Risk-Averse?”, concluded that writers are now being forced to bear more of their risk and complete their books without being paid in advance.  Oh dear, my heart bleeds for those poor authors.  Welcome to the real world, folks!  And thank you for falling in line with our way of doing things, traditional publishers.  But apparently it is shocking to some people that things have had to change in this way.  Are you surprised?  When you think about the flat or falling book sales figures, the rising costs of production and the uncertainties inherent in the industry, is it any wonder publishers have had to rein in the budgets and take fewer risks?  Of course it isn’t.  Those of us who have operated in this way for years know that the authors and publishers who persevere without having a safety net or any certain return on their investment of time or money are the real heroes.  So I don’t actually have a problem with authors taking the risk.

What I do have a problem with is the arrogance and condescending nature of some publishing people who still think it is their right to be gatekeepers, playing God and deciding which books deserve to be published and which don’t.  At the seminar, former publisher Alison Samuel defended big publishing and declared that “there were an awful lot of bad books that did not need to exist”.  Perhaps it is the old-fashioned, elitist and deluded model of the big publishing houses that does not need to exist.  In 2006, I wrote an article stating that Every Book Deserves to Be Written and Published.  That was also our strapline at The Book Midwife for several years.  I have taken plenty of flak for that comment, but I stand by it.  Alison – and anyone else who cares to argue with me: I never said ‘bad books’ deserve to be bought, read or liked.  I just said we shouldn’t deny people the right to get their books into print.  If publishers or anyone else wants to be careful with their investments, please do.  That’s prudent.  Just don’t say that certain books shouldn’t exist.

The controversial thread on LinkedIn appears in the Book Publishing Professionals club, and legally, it would not be right for me to reprint content from there, as it is a private club.  It’s probably OK for me to divulge the title though: “Does anyone else out there, besides me, think that self-publishing should just go away and let “real” publishing take over again?”  I think it was designed to polarize people but I am stunned at the level and the vehemence of the arguments on both sides.  Nearly 900 comments and counting, with some people still arguing that publishers should have the right to decide what gets published and what doesn’t.  Sweeties – I grant you the right to decide what you publish.  Leave the rest of us alone so we can get on with writing what we want, publishing it how we want, and creating as much success as we can with our books.

We can now help even more people write and publish their books

March 28, 2010

Last week I trained a new writing coach/consultant. Kate Keenan is now officially a Licensed Associate with The Book Midwife, and she is going to be superb! Kate has over 30 years of experience as a licensed psychologist and is a trained coach. She has also written 14 business books which, collectively, have sold over one million copies! She is just finishing her 15th book and will be publishing it with Ecademy Press. Kate is based in Bath, UK and has a specific interest in helping academics and professionals create more popular (less academic) books. A big warm welcome, Kate!

Kate Keenan, our newest Book Midwife Licensed Associate

There are about 10 other coaches and consultants who will be trained in The Book Midwife methodology over the next six months. With so many people wanting to write and publish good books quickly, we are always looking for more good people, so please keep your eyes and ears open. Applicants should be trained coaches or practising consultants, have their own business and ideally have written and published a full-length book.

Time for a mate?

March 18, 2010

When was the last time you had a good old-fashioned chat with a friend? No phones or computers around, just great conversation.

I arrived in Greenwich, CT late Thursday night, and by Saturday we were involved in the worst storm the area has seen for about 40 years. The wind was howling and the rain was pounding down. Then the power went out and stayed out for 24 hours (some people we know were affected for 72 hours or more).

With no Internet and not wanting to waste our phone batteries, my mother and I settled in for a nice quiet evening. Later, I spoke to many other people who ended up doing the same. They had ‘quality time’ forced upon them, and they remembered how great it can be. I worry sometimes that relaxed conversation is rapidly becoming a lost art.

When I lived in Argentina in 1981, we used to get together with friends and family nearly every day to talk and drink mate (pronounced ‘ma-tay’). Mate is a green tea-type drink, full of caffeine, which you drink through a metal straw. The mate ball is filled up with hot water before each person drinks, and the whole experience is one of patience and calm, no hurries or worries. Just friendship and sharing. It’s true that in those days there was no Internet, hardly anyone had computers and some people didn’t even have telephones. We used to just drop in on each other, unannounced many times, drink mate and chat. I miss that. Maybe people in Argentina still find time for uninterrupted get-togethers like that, but I have a feeling things are busier and more frenetic now (I would love to hear from you if you live in Argentina and find time to drink mate with friends – and it only counts if you are not checking your iPhone or BlackBerry every few minutes!)

I’m making a personal commitment to start drinking mate with friends again. I may have to teach them how to do it, and we all may have to re-learn how to switch off, even without power cuts.