Tag: Belief

We can all be brave leaders through our individual actions

the world is changed by your example coelho

Today I woke up to see this story of a 21 year old Swedish woman taking a stand against deportation of an Afghan from her country by standing up to prevent her flight from departing. Her name is Elin Errson, and she literally took a stand for what she believed to be right.

The video below is edited to 3′ and is very emotional and inspirational.

I’ve then linked to a Guardian interview of Ms Errson, then added my own thoughts and links to thoughts from two earlier posts on this site.

We can all be brave leaders through our individual actions

All we need do is simply take a stand for what we believe in, by simply being of integrity to that and acting from that place.

Leaders who do not, lose their followers. (more…)

Commitment, Boldness and Magic


I write this at 7am in a log cabin under two majestic tall pines in the redwood forests of northern California.

I came here from London this weekend to attend the wedding of one of our Modern Elder Academy cohort that came together and bonded tightly during our week in Baja only this past April.

When invited, in the words of yesterday’s post, I chose “Hell Yeah !” so here I am and wondrously majestic the entire experience has been.

As I sit here, awake before the whole house as I embrace my London body clock waking early I hear the birds chirping in an otherwise silent hillside garden.

This morning I consider the power of commitment and boldness and the magic it can bring. (more…)

Yes. You. Can.


Language is so powerful. It builds and reinforces beliefs in ourselves and others.

Whether leading yourself or others, as a friend, parent, employer, business owner, politician, writer, leader of a movement, there is incredible and simple power in offering another person your belief, to tell them “Yes, you can.”

Let me build on this with a few examples towards a pinnacle of inspiration I witnessed first-hand last weekend. Please follow me with this, the example at the end moved me greatly and I believe it will for you. (more…)

Will you always do what is true to you?

First to anchor this beyond yourself, if you lead a business, organisation, movement, know that I see you. Know I see that sometimes you doubt yourself, you don’t fully act, say, do what is your absolute truth. I know that. I do it too, we are all human.

What are your “SLB”s, your self-limiting beliefs?

Two of the most common themes are  :

“I’ll be judged” / “I’ll be laughed at”

“I could lose my job” / “I need the money”

So many more, but today I’ll focus on these two broad themes around money and taking risks with your reputation.

Imagine if you no longer worried about money or reputation, what would you, could you, will you do differently? Some of it is in your head, some of it you can do something about.

A story now that vividly illustrates what is possible. (more…)

Michael Jordan : I failed, that is why I succeed


I love this quote from Michael Jordan, as it speaks to “Deliberate Practice”, a topic I wrote about yesterday, focussed on golf and Ben Hogan, as well as looking to prompt readers to consider where they are deliberate in what they do, whether it be in their personal life or at work, in what they do personally or what they guide and lead their people to do.

So, to “MJ” or #23″. Oh, and I’ll come back to that quote at the end of this post to reflect on perhaps his greatest success. (more…)

What is your 80 days ?

Mark B ES 2018

On April 26th, I was at Gleneagles for a truly inspirational and world-class day at the Entrepreneurial Scotland annual conference, themed “Global Mindset, Scottish Heart”.

The conference was opened by my friend, the truly inspirational Mark Beaumont, who just over a year ago utterly smashed the round the world cycling record, taking it down 40% to under the mythical “Around the World in 80 Days” level.

Mark taught us a two part lesson.

Mark spoke of two individuals who have asked him for support in breaking another round the world record. He asked them both, separately, “how fast do you think you can do it ?”. They both answered “well, the record is x days, I’ll beat that”. His response to each of them was simple.  “Then, you will fail”.

You see, they had ignored Mark’s first lesson.

That first lesson is to become really clear on who you are and how much you are capable of, to find your own personal best. He speaks from experience. He had stretched himself to the absolute limit in prior endurance adventures. I’d also add that it is a true privilege to have got to know Mark over a number of years. He is truly a massively self-aware and humble leader, and an old soul. An old head on young shoulders would be another phrase. Inspirational !

Knowing who he is and what his ultimate capability was, Mark then set that 80 days target.

The second part of the lesson is then to design and build a plan and then execute it, as if you truly are going to achieve your full potential, your own “80 days”. there will be times when you are at the limit, and you need to stop thinking and simply execute a well thought out plan that you know you can deliver on. To go on automatic pilot when needed.

A famous quote from Mike Tyson is “everyone has a plan, until you get punched in the face”. If I may extend that from what Mark taught us, “everyone has a plan, until you get punched in the face. When you get punched in the face, you need a plan more than ever.”

So… what is your 80 days ?

What is your personal best, your true and full potential ?

If you know that, what then ? What do you need to have in place in order to achieve that potential ?

How do you know if you could be an Entrepreneur ?

a real entrepreneur has no choice

A real entrepreneur has no choice.

That’s it.

So many people have talked to me over the years wondering whether or not they can / could / should / will make the leap to leaving their job to start their own business.

Being an entrepreneur and working with entrepreneurs, when I ask people why they started their business, the answer always contains something like :

“I couldn’t NOT do it”

A real entrepreneur has no choice.

Sure, entrepreneurs are often inspired by seeing a gap and taking that opening (which is also a rough translation of the french roots of the word). They often see a market gap where they can make money. Taking entrepreneurialism beyond ventures that are wholly or exclusively focussed on profit, one can see an opportunity to make an impact socially, politically and more.

Also entrepreneurs have a higher “risk profile”, a higher tolerance for risk than other people. As my inspiring friend Maeve Gillies told me “I have often said “Leap and the net will appear”, though the net doesn’t always look like a net”. Another way of putting that :


So, entrepreneurs see openings, they are comfortable with risk, but to know if you are entrepreneurial, go back to Gary Vaynerchuk’s quote at the top. What does your heart tell you ? What drives you ? Where do you have no choice, you simply HAVE to act !?

Smashing Paradigms – Trains without Timetables ?

{latest in a developing series on Smashing Paradigms}

For my story-telling explanation of the definition of a Paradigm, see “What is a Paradigm“. 

One way of defining a paradigm is “an unconsciously held belief that limits us from fresh thinking” or “we’ve always done it this way”


(c) smasherofficial.com

Today I’ll talk about two paradigms to smash. One is the idea of abolition of railway timetables, the other that of revolutionising rail ticket pricing.

First, timetables. Trains run on time. Well, most of the time. The driving force behind this since the very early days of rail travel has been the railway timetable. All systems and processes centre around it.

In fact, in 1840 the Great Western Railway introduced the concept of “Railway time” in order to have uniform times at each station, all on “London time”, co-ordinate from the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, from where all time around the world is still set.

So, since 1840 trains have run based on consistent times and from railway timetables.

It was therefore hugely refreshing this week to hear Sir Peter Hendy, Chair of Network Rail, foreshadow the end of the railway timetable. No more railway timetables ? What does he mean ? “We’ve always done it this way” (paradigm alert !).

You see, before his role with Network Rail he headed up Transport for London, home of the “Tube”, the London Underground. As he noted in his speech for the George Bradshaw address (pdf here), the Victoria line on the Tube has 36 trains per hour at peak times. Anyone who rides the tube knows there are no timetables, nor would we want one. Instead, on each platform there is simply a display that indicates how many minutes until the next trains arrive.


Smashing Paradigms – “I was wrong”

{latest in a developing series on Smashing Paradigms}

For my story-telling explanation of the definition of a Paradigm, see “What is a Paradigm“. 

One way of defining a paradigm is “an unconsciously held belief that limits us from fresh thinking” or “we’ve always done it this way”


(c) smasherofficial.com


The world we know is based on the “command and control” method of leadership that leveraged the post Second World War return to the work force of millions of men used to following orders without question.

Out of this paradigm of omniscient and all powerful leadership came the orthodoxy of the MBA and Business School training that to some level still persists, and certainly has formed much of the understanding, knowledge and beliefs of many of the CEOs, Politicians and other 40+, 50+, 60+ leaders that guide our world now.

In the last week we have seen yet another school shooting in the USA, yet all around the world the sadness is amplified by the sense that nothing will change (though let us hope that the likes of Emma Gonzalez will change that. More on that tomorrow in a positive and life affirming post.. I am an eternal optimist who believes love will triumph over fear!).

I thought about what needs to change in leadership in the USA for gun control to really happen in the way it did in the UK and Australia in recent decades. My simple conclusion ? Our “command and control” leaders in the USA and around the world simply need bravery, the bravery to stand up and say “I was wrong“.

i was wrong


Smashing Paradigms – What is Bravery ?

{latest in a developing series on Smashing Paradigms}

For my story-telling explanation of the definition of a Paradigm, see “What is a Paradigm“. 

One way of defining a paradigm is “an unconsciously held belief that limits us from fresh thinking” or “we’ve always done it this way”


(c) smasherofficial.com


bravery iain jamaica pool

We often think of bravery as the stuff of myth and legend, passed down through the ages.

What if, instead, we simply considered bravery to be relative to how it feels to the individual. Take a look at the picture above. Does that boy look brave to you ?

More on that later on, but first some stories on bravery in different forms, from leading, to rebuilding, to reframing mental health conversations. (more…)

Smashing Paradigms – Ellen

{latest in a developing series on Smashing Paradigms}

For my story-telling explanation of the definition of a Paradigm, see “What is a Paradigm“. 

One way of defining a paradigm is “an unconsciously held belief that limits us from fresh thinking” or “we’ve always done it this way”


(c) smasherofficial.com

Last week in this column I wrote about #TheFutureIsFemale.

Today, a female leader written about by another.

Bravery, integrity and truth are all attributes of a true leader.

I recently read the words of my dear friend Taylor Burrowes, otherwise known as Dr. Babe, and an inspiring brave leader herself, on the impact of Ellen DeGeneres :

“It’s amazing how quickly the public reacts to headlines, and how unceremoniously it rejects someone — but only true graceful warriors can arise to such humble heights! She is magic, in her own right and in her own way — she celebrates life and her god-given talents authentically, embracing the hardships of life (and her crying fans) without letting them break her spirit. Her spirit is joy. I hope Ellen is absorbing the momentous life she has created and that the public doesn’t wait for her passing to truly appreciate the angel of joy and humility that she is, remarkably.”

This video was released to celebrate Ellen’s 60th birthday in January 2018. A wonderful and inspiring watch.

Humble Leadership – “that’s family business”

Thank you to my good friend Paul Robinson for reminding me of this. A sports leadership story today around these words “that’s family business” and what, in context they mean as a leadership story. Before I get there, the achievement of the team, then the story of “that’s family business”.

Of all the sports I’ve played, Basketball is my first and deepest love. Basketball played truly as a team is something of great beauty. Team basketball, however, is rarely seen at the absolute purest and highest level. To be a team instead of a  collection of individuals takes the willingness to absolutely subsume ego, to bring humility, and respect. Only when you have this can you align a group of sublimely talented individuals behind purpose and create the majesty of true team basketball.

For all of us, whether leading a business or simply our own presence in life, we can learn so much from this team around true leadership. So, which is the greatest basketball team ever ? (more…)

Belief – The greatest gift you can give someone


As a father of three wonderful boys, I absolutely echo these words from the late, great Coach Jimmy V. He took his NC State Wolfpack team to a remarkable NCAA title in 1983 and his players would have walked through fire for him.

He believed in them, they believed in him. An amazing leader.