Archive for the ‘Personal Improvement’ Category

Talking Shops

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

How many industry or professional associations, networking groups, clubs, social or sporting interest groups and so forth are you really deriving meaningful benefit from? By “meaningful”, I mean when you look at the scarcity of your time and energy today and the year ahead, who do you really need to spend time with this year? I draw a sharp distinction with symbolic benefit. Invites to attend, speak, and participate with people by virtue of your status that do little or nothing to the life you want to lead or serve only to address your past professional or personal needs.

Who is really going to help you with your business and career growth? Who is really going to provide the dramatic learning and development opportunities that you need to acquire? Who is really going to provide you with the experiences, gratification and fun that you desire?

I’ll bet for most of us we could drop 30% of the memberships, associations, clubs, groups, events, and interests, with zero impact on our lives. Many don’t because they procrastinate (“I’ll give it a miss next year”) and never get around to making those changes. Others think that past success is a reason for sticking with it when in reality the ship has sailed. The club or group today is less diverse, less attractive to the most successful and is merely a talking shop. A forum for the bloviates to boast about their success, their years of affiliation and to ignore the reality.

Entrepreneur’s Talk

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

I meet a great many entrepreneurs, who readily talk about the fears that grip their clients but a small minority, who will voluntarily talk about their own fears and the consequences. It is “as if” vulnerability = failure or weakness. When in fact it is the polar opposite.

The reluctance to talk has a spiralling effect on individuals’ health and wellbeing, where stress is overlaid by more stress. That is why very few entrepreneurs succeed long-term without a strong support system. People, who are ideally placed to listen and offer qualified feedback. To be blunt, to be honest and to be supportive. Who those individuals are only the entrepreneur can ultimately determine.

Phone Dependency

Monday, November 12th, 2018

If you are feeling compelled to “sit” on your phone while in the middle of family time, at dinner, at the theatre or the sports event, you ARE the problem. Not your boss, not your client, no you. 

When Everyone is a PR

Monday, November 5th, 2018

Productive Content

I walked into a countryside pub recently and I saw a guy attempting to play darts, missing the entirety of the dartboard frequently, endangering bystanders and very irregularly hitting the required number. My first thought was “give yourself a break, get a new hobby”.  It reminded me of countless number of people daily posting their musings on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter or issuing press releases, articles, and self-authored content. Aimless content disappearing into the ether of self-congratulatory irrelevance. Time really is precious.

If you want to “play”, be very sure who your target audience is (specific traits), aim where they demonstrably hang out and engage with others (publishing forums), and be clear what response you want to elicit (provocation, engagement, seen as a peer or thought leader). I am not suggesting you keep score of every piece of your content’s impact (futile activity), what I am suggesting is you ask yourself is this time well-spent given my immediate priorities? Be honest.

Escaping The Bubble

Friday, October 12th, 2018

Escaping The Bubble     

Are you aware of the “bubble” that you live in and the consequences of staying exclusively in it? (beliefs, attitudes, behaviours)

If you are aware, what “checks and balances” do you have in place to help you appreciate the lives that others lead and the views that they hold that don’t conform to your own? (diverse experiences, travel, sources of advice, learning)

If you are not, what are you going to do tomorrow to help yourself? (speak to peers, identify sources and opportunities for diverse learning and development).

Some of the most successful people I meet (executives, entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists, creative types) make demands of others or hold views that defy common sense. My observation is that they have long insisted on hanging out with a crowd, who are a mirror-image of themselves (clubs, parties, events). They refuse to put themselves in other’s shoes and when they do, they end up with “warped reality” (global perspective).   

Legacy Trumps Opinions

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

Everyone has an opinion about something today (Trump, Brexit, societal changes) and when given a large platform (social or public media), the barrage of people “shouting” about something, is at times deafening, and largely wasted. In death, as I was reminded at a close friend’s funeral yesterday, the only score that counts is what you have positively contributed to the lives of the people around you and beyond (“legacy”).  

Keeping Company

Monday, June 18th, 2018

If you don’t think you “belong” in particular company, you are probably right. Do something about it now (become an increasing person of interest) or forget about it. Bemoaning to others, achieves nothing but create angst.

© James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Natural Conversation

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

 

 

I think of getting to know people in a business social setting (a hosted event or forum), akin to peeling an onion. The enjoyment is asking small considered questions in an arc that encourage others to reveal themselves, listening attentively, and the depth and breadth of my intellectual curiosity that is stirred by their responses. It sounds simple but how many times have you been seated next to someone, who enjoys and excels at that pursuit? There is a name for them, great conversationalists. It is not something that is taught in school or learned staring into a backlit phone screen. It is best learned watching others, who excel in a natural, not staged, conversation and building your own intellectual firepower (reading, watching, experiencing). Individuals, who are comfortable in themselves to the extent that they don’t feel an abject need to impose their thinking on others (agenda hunters, as I think of them) or to consider diametrically opposed viewpoints.

© James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

We Have All The Time In The World

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

 

Louis Armstrong made a wonderful record and a great refrain, do you have “time enough for life to unfold?” All of us do in reality unless we are suffering a severe illness or injury, yet a great many smart people structure it disastrously or use it woefully. Just today, the Harvard-educated US hospitality executive, whose calendar works in 15 minute increments, lo and behold by 7:30am shows up 25 minutes late, full of apologies and we achieve close to zero. The European fintech entrepreneur, who insists on taking “urgent” calls when we meet, describes himself “crazy busy” and turns a focused 45 minute capital raising conversation into a rambling 90 minute dialogue of half finished ideas and no clear, next steps. Even my public-funded doctor’s surgery doesn’t schedule back-to-back appointments and the doctors have regularly scheduled times for returning calls. There is a reason why the “cares of the world are rarely behind us”, YOU and your lousy system!

© James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

A Bad Day

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

Most people’s so-called “bad day” is very rarely bad. With extremely rare exception, no one has been shot at, no one has been injured nor have they died. Let’s keep a sense of perspective and positive self-talk about own lives, our family, our business, our clients and our investors. Yes, it may be frustrating, the key investor, customer or prospect rejected an offer we made, the Board aren’t supportive of our great idea or our ability to move with haste has been hindered by others’ procrastination. These things happen. They are mere speed bumps. They are not catastrophic unless you allow them to control your mindset.

© James Berkeley 2017.