Care About What Others Think And You Will Always Be Their Prisoner

A friend of mine was asked to change a presentation by a senior leader within her business, because he didn’t like a particular section… It wasn’t feedback to make the presentation better, he just wanted it removed… The presentation wasn’t even for him.

What would you have done?

Even though the removal made the presentation worse and although the section she was asked to remove linked directly with her personal values – she changed the presentation.

Her desire to be liked was greater than her belief in her presentation.

She is not alone – We all have an innate desire to be liked, especially by those who appear more important. In fact some of us have such a deep need for approval, that we will act against our own self interest in the hope we will be seen in a more attractive light.

It is okay to want to be liked, it is a normal human need… but when it penetrates our values and actions in a way that doesn’t allow us to be ourselves, that is simply wrong.

What if we could live in a world where the most authentic and best version of you was all you ever needed to be?

“I will never let anyone walk though my mind with their dirty feet”


The Problem

When we desperately seek approval, we are solely focused on other people’s agendas and being seen as someone whom they approve. In basic terms we try to fit in by thinking and acting like them.

However we are kidding ourselves -you are not just like them. You can only ever be just like you.

When we try to imitate and replicate others, we will end up feeling drained of energy because attempting to second guess what someone else is thinking is ridiculously hard. Not only that, but you will likely fail in your goal of being liked – rather you will be perceived as unauthentic.

The Truth

Nellore-Kungfu-Training-919849465401-Indian-Shaolin-Wushu-Camp_8We need to come to terms with the fact that the only thing in this universe we have control over is our thoughts and our actions.

Absolutely nothing else is within your control – especially the thoughts of other people! The bottom line is that you cannot force anyone to like you.

You can be authentic and they will choose to like you or not.
You can try to trick them into liking you and they will still choose to like you or not. The only difference is, if they like the false version of you, what do you think will happen when they discover you deceived them? How will you feel having to live a lie?

What to do

There is no magical formula I’m afraid.

I wish I could create five steps to be liked by everyone and anyone, but I can’t.  Nobody can – it doesn’t exist.

I can offer my advice:

Aim to be the best version of you.

  • Live your values in everything you do.
  • Allow your voice to be heard – what you have to say is of equal value as anyone else in the world.
  • Be true to who you want to be – the best you. You have access to that person right now, you just have to choose to step up, feel a bit vulnerable and show who you are.

This advice is easier said than done. It will feel scary, you will feel vulnerable and it will be challenging. But when you represent your authentic self fully, the connections and relationships you build from that will be the most magical and special of your entire life.

There will still be some people who don’t like you. Even the best version of you!

Don’t worry about these people – really don’t! Just think about these people for a moment… people who don’t like you for being you…do you really want that type of negativity in your life?

You are worth more than that – shine like the light that you are, the people that matter will be drawn to you!

Six Reasons Why Your Team Don’t Respect You

“Everything would be okay if it wasn’t for her.”
“She is fine to my face, but then stabs me in the back.”
“She thinks she is better than me.”

This is what I was told repeatedly yesterday… I was facilitating a high performance coaching session with an emerging  manager about her leadership – however, all she wanted to talk about was how one of her assistant managers didn’t respect her – as she said, “She doesn’t have my back, I can’t trust her.”

Respect is important to us all. As a leader. As a manager. As a human being. Respect is vital.

We all want it, the question is, are you willing to do what it takes to get it?
Respect is not given to you. Even when you are in a senior role at work, that doesn’t mean you automatically receive respect. People might work for you, but they don’t have to respect you.

Respect has to be earned. If you want more respect in your life and are prepared to put in the hard work, then here are six reasons why there could be a lack of respect in your life and what to do about it.

1.You Don’t Respect Yourself


Yesterday, the manager I coached lacked self belief. The way she talked about her situation and her job, was like she didn’t quite feel like she deserved it. She didn’t think she was good enough or capable. 

In simple terms, she didn’t respect herself as a manager and her Assistant Manager knew it. Speaking to her, all she really needed was to understand that she had been given the job because her boss believed she was good enough. That simple realisation was all she needed.

If you lack respect for yourself, here is my advice: 

To purposefully review all the good you have done, you are an amazing person who has been through a lot. That deserves respect.

2.You Talk Behind Their Backs

Here is some very simple advice – Talking negatively about your team to other people in your team NEVER ends well. They always find out and you lose the respect of almost everyone in that team. If you have a problem with someone’s behaviour, feedback to them, not their colleagues!

3.You Don’t Treat Others The Way You Want To Be Treated

How you treat others will directly link to how others treat you in return. This means you should take care and attention when you decide how you want to be treated. Then give those behaviours to those around you, allow them to feel the way you want to.

For example, the manager I spoke to yesterday, liked to be the ‘mother’ figure within her team. Taking on all of the motherly duties and treating her team like her children. So guess what happened? Her team were treated like children, so they acted like children.

No surprises, but that is not what you want as a manager. What she has now done is identified that she would like her team to be respectful and honest. She now has to answer the question: What are the behaviours someone would have to show for you to treat them as respectful and honest?

4.You Act First, Then Think


Something happens in a situation that you perceive as a lack of respect and then fire back in an emotional manner. Then later will think ‘Why did I say that?’

This is an emotional reaction that it is highly unlikely you will get the response or outcome you want. This is because the response from those around you is likely to be an emotional one too.

If you want to ensure that you get respect, thinking about how you feedback is critical. This takes planning, not much, but it will take a moment or two for your to gather your thoughts and remove the emotion.

If someone is disrespectful to you, think about how you will respond. It doesn’t need to be a fight and it doesn’t need to be emotional. What needs to happen is that behaviour is modified going forward.

What specific behaviour and situation are you discussing? What was the effect of this behaviour? What would you like to see in the future?

5.You Hold Back Your Concerns, Until You Explode

This is the opposite of acting first, thinking later! These are the times you will effectively ‘bottle up’ all your feedback and emotions, as the lack of respect builds and builds. Until, one day, all the emotion and feedback comes flooding out… probably for something and nothing!

If you let this happen, it is not the perpetrators fault, it’s yours. Allowing poor behaviour or emotions to build and then exploding into an emotional feedback volcano, guarantees a failure to get respect.

The advice is the same as before – when witnessing disrespectful behaviour, take a moment to remove the emotion and approach the situation factually. Then take the appropriate action as soon as you can.

6.Your Deeds Don’t Match Your Actions

One of the quickest ways to lose respect of the people around you is to say you will do something or say that you stand for something and then don’t. The best approach is to be mindful. To think about what you say and how you say it. The more people you lead, the more mindful you have to be. 

Be clear and check understanding. If you do what you say you will do, respect will follow.

Putting it all together

We all want and need respect, especially in a management or leadership role. If you want to change the behaviour of the people around you, then you must change your behaviour first.

Remember, respect is earned, so transform your behaviour and you will transform the respect you receive.

The Scientific Way To Create A High Performing Team

If you are a manager, leader or owner of a company… You desire a high performing team.

You want a team that is cohesive, that works for each other and for the greater good. A team that is comfortable and secure enough to challenge each other. A team that welcomes new ideas and originality, rather than following the accepted standard.

Adam Grant, in his latest book ‘Originals’, has a chapter dedicated to the science behind which leadership strategies create the highest performing teams.

Adam Grant reveals five common strategies that leaders use to build their teams. Which one do you use?


The aim is to recruit and attain the best skilled team possible. Whatever the task in hand is, this type of leader will seek out the highest skilled team possible. This team will then be given challenging tasks and autonomy to deliver on them.


star-employee-1The leaders who utilise the ‘star’ strategy, don’t concern themselves with the specific skill set of their team members. What these leaders are interested in is the future and potential of individuals within their team.

They will seek out the brightest, sharpest people, who demonstrate the brain capacity to become world-class at what they do. Within this approach, the team will be given challenging tasks and the autonomy to decide how these tasks should be accomplished.


This strategy is based on cultural fit.

The leader will build a team of people who share the same the values and beliefs as themselves. In essence the leader surrounds themselves with people who believe what they believe. This team will be lead with high challenge, autonomy and strong emotional bonds to the mission.


This approach shares similar attributes as the professional strategy. The focus is on skills, with individuals with the highest skill set being the most desired. The difference in this approach is, rather than allowing their teams an autonomous environment, this strategy leans heavily on financial based incentives and micro-management.


bda-on-red-tapeThis strategy is based on recruiting and growing a team based on skills. The difference is that these teams will be managed with challenging tasks combined with very detailed rules and regulations on how to deliver on these tasks.

What strategy would you choose?

The aim is to get a high performing team. A high performing team is a team that will push each other, can challenge one another and which will welcome new ideas and originality.

Hopefully it is obvious that Autocracy and Bureaucracy won’t generate a high performing team… These approaches would only deliver average results and conforming, non-challenging team members, due to the micro-management and rules and regulations management style adopted.

If you have a basic level task, which you need a low level of performance and you don’t want your team to think about what they are doing and how to improve on it… then Autocracy and Bureaucracy are the options for you.

However, if you want a high performing team, then you are left with three options… Professional, Star and Commitment.

The most commonly adopted approach is Professional. Get the highest skilled people possible… On the surface this is a reasonable assumption to make.

But it’s the opposite – The research clearly demonstrates, this approach is the worst at building high performing teams out of the remaining options. The shocking truth is that it is at least three times more likely to fail than the others!

The second most popular approach is Star. Building a team of people, who have the capacity to grow and become world-class appears seductive.

However, the data once again shows us that this is likely to fail – twice as much as the last remaining option…


This is the least adopted strategy by leaders across the world, yet the data proves, time and time again, that this approach is the most likely to produce a high performing team!


Why does a Committed strategy produce a high performing teams?

  • They demonstrate more passion and intensity.
  • They believe in the same things as the leader, so everyone is emotionally bought in to a shared vision.
  • Being surrounded by people who share the same values automatically create a strong sense of belonging and loyalty.
  • A team that is emotionally connected and driven will be more willing to speak up and share new ideas.
  • Those ideas are more likely to be accepted and listened to, because everyone knows that the best interests of the team are at heart.
  • Making the right decision for the team, takes precedence over any ego or status quo.

No matter which strategy was your preference when we started – we all know that a team who share values, beliefs and feel trusted will perform.

Skills can be taught, beliefs on the other hand can not… Surround yourself with people who believe what you believe and you will have a high performing team.

As Adam Grant says in his book “Skills and Stars are fleeting, commitment lasts”.

Ego is The Mortal Wound in Your Leadership

We have all, at some point in our lives, had the unfortunate experience of working with a boss who has a big ego. About five years ago I worked on a project with a chief operating officer of a global company and she was totally in love with her ego.

She consistently told me how great she was. I remember the stories now, ranging from her exceptional performance at school, to becoming a ‘big player’ in the business world. According to her, she had done it all… perfectly… every time.

The thing is, she is not the only one… If we are honest, finding a manager or leader with a big ego is not a rare occurrence. In fact you can probably think of a leader in your life who has a massive ego. Or even worse… maybe, just maybe, someone reading this would think of you?

“Our ego hinders our ability to influence more than anything else under our control. Ego is the biggest reason leaders fail.”

Michael McKinney

When a leader’s ego grows to the point were they believe they always have the right answer… a leader will fail.

When a leader’s opinion matters more than their follower’s opinions… a leader will fail.

When a leader stops listening and stop learning… a leader will fail.

When a leader surrounds themselves with people who continually confirm and conform to their will and pander to their self-worth… a leader will fail.

Ego is the mortal wound of leadership. It distracts you from the foundational truth of leadership… The best leaders in the world, bring out the best in other people.

How can we ensure our ego doesn’t get in the way of being a great leader?

Ego isn’t a real thing. It is just an idea. An idea of who we think we are and who we believe we are.

This idea tells us:

“Who I am is what I have.”
“Who I am is what I have done.”
“Who I am is what other people think of me.”
“Who I am is how much stuff I own and how much that stuff is worth.”

An ego, in the simplest of terms, believes that it is separate from everything else and in competition with everything else.

As leaders we need to be aware of our own ego and evolve it, so we become great leaders that serve our followers.

The three levels of ego evolution

Dr. Wayne Dyre, explained that there are three stages of ego evolution in adulthood and I think these have clear links to leadership.

The Athletic.

23119634This is based on “What you look like, is what you are”. It is simply a narcissistic view on life. It is about looking good, rather than doing good.

You will see this in leaders that will attempt to take the credit for other peoples’ ideas and work, in order for them to be seen in a positive light. You will hear these type of leaders continually discredit other people too. This is to make others look bad, in order to elevate their own status.

It is clear that possessing this type of ego will detrimentally effect your leadership. It will erode trust, loyalty, respect and authenticity. All of which, I hope you agree, are critical to leadership.

The Warrior

Guild-Wars-2-WarriorIn my experience, this is the most common version of ego you will find in leaders. This is all about being the best. It is about competing, fighting and being the number one.

In moderation, this can be beneficial to leadership. But when it grows into a self-fulfilling, ever growing and unstoppable ego, then it becomes disastrous.

Believing you are always right and surrounding yourself with only people who say you are right, is frighteningly bad leadership.

Logically, how can any one person be smarter, better and more intelligent than a whole team of people? The simple answer is they can’t. Yet with a warrior ego, a leader won’t listen to others’ opinions. They will lose engagement, value and commitment from their teams.

The Statesman

This evolves from ‘What can I get’ that you find in the first two stages, to a ‘How can I serve?’ focus.

What-is-servant-leadership-ghandi-help-others-1024x576At this stage a leader understands that they are connected to their teams and followers. Their success is the growth and development of their people.

As a servant, a leader will gain: Trust, loyalty, respect, authenticity, engagement, value and commitment from their followers.

They will also instantly tap into the collective mind-power and ideas of the whole team, which the Statesman leader, understands is far greater than their own individual intelligence.

Why does leadership fail?

An Athletic or Warrior ego is the most common reason why leaders fail.

What level of ego evolution do you live and work at?

Are you in it to look good? Are you in it to be the number one, have lots of power and make all the decisions?

Or are you in it to serve those around you? To create the environment for people to flourish and grow?

If your friends don’t push you, they limit you.

I believe that to reach our full potential and allow others to reach theirs, we need to be able to raise our standards and rise to challenges faster than ever before. To become the best version of ourselves, we need to surround ourselves with people who push us hard.

This is a short video that shares my philosophy on how why we should all be pushy friends:

Two Simple Steps That Will Help You Build Strong Relationships… Today.

This is a video I have created, about how to create deep and meaningful relationships with those around you. Being able to connect quickly and authentically is such a powerful life skill and has massive benefits to you and the world around you.

These three strategies have literally changed my life, by vastly improving the relationships I have at work, at home and socially.

Hopefully, this advice can help you:

What I learnt about life from 50 heart attack victims

Who are you?

This is such a simple question, but also equally difficult to answer well.

Most of us will be able to muster up a few answers, such as our name or maybe some of the roles in life we play, such as, mother, father, manager, leader…

Does that answer the question properly though? We are all more than a name, a job or a role, aren’t we?

What is the meaning of you? What do you stand for? What is your purpose? What do you give? What makes you magic?

Some people go searching for their life purpose, they will travel the world in an effort to ‘find themselves’. It is more common to find those people who ignore the idea that they have a purpose and just try to get through life as uneventfully as they can.

The truth is you don’t have to travel the world to work out who you are. That understanding is within you always. To fully discover it, you have to be prepared to ask yourself some challenging and deep questions… then be brave enough to answer!

Trying to ignore your purpose is a very dangerous activity. You can spend a lifetime suppressing yourself. You can spend a lifetime surviving rather than thriving, but the brutal truth is that at some point you will realise that failing to strive towards your purpose was the biggest mistake you ever made. This point, in most people’s lives, is when it is to late.

I know this to be true because I have been fortunate enough to learn from people who thought it was too late, who literally thought they were about to die. I interviewed over 50 people who had recently been a victim of a heart attack.

I asked them about life. What they thought about as they felt they were about to die. How did they rate their lives? What was the meaning of their life? 

Three themes kept on reoccurring in their answers that had a profound effect on my life. I would like to share them with you:

Enjoy Life

Enjoying the SilenceThe most commonly described factor was a wish that they had enjoyed life more, enjoyed the present moment more. They wished they had spent less time being distracted by a past they couldn’t do anything about or a future which is undetermined. It was unanimous that being fully present and take pleasure in the everyday moments would have vastly improved the quality of their lives.

One of the interviewees articulated it quite brilliantly “The present moment is all we truly and genuinely have. It is wonderful and glorious, yet I spent my time focused on the intangibles of the past and future. I missed the only thing I ever truly had.”

If you feel you are trapped in the past or future and are failing to truly savour the magic of right now, ask yourself:

  • What am I grateful for right now?
  • What needs to happen for me to enjoy this moment right now?
  • What activity can I do everyday which will actively enable me to give my absolutely focus on the present moment?

Deep Connection


“I wish I had told (name of loved one) that I loved them more” That is one of the key things you will think in your last moments, according to those who believed they were about to die. 

Our world is not about individualism, it’s not about making sure we are okay and forget everyone else. It’s about connection with those around us.

The research suggests this belief system shouldn’t just be limited to your nearest and dearest either, as data shows us, that those people who pro-actively project love, joy, friendship and happiness to all they meet, have a greater sense of personal purpose and feel more loved, joyful, friendly and happy!

The key message I received from this, is about what we give to others. It is blindingly obvious that we need connection. What is less obvious, is that we shouldn’t be so protective over it! Most people wouldn’t dream of giving love, joy and happiness to everyone and for free. This is most likely because we are afraid of getting hurt. The realisation from these interviews is that it is ultimately more painful if we don’t!

In simple terms, the only way you can feel true, authentic and unlimited love is by giving love, freely and joyfully.

The only way you can feel joy is by giving joy.

The only way you can connect deeply with anyone, is by giving the feelings of deep connection away.

Yes, the cynics are right, there is a downside. The odd person might trample on that love you gave away, but don’t let that one person ruin your purpose lead life! The facts are 99% of people in your world will be grateful for the connection and give back those feelings two fold!

If you want to develop connection in your life, ask yourself:

  • How can I make someone feel valued and special today?
  • What do I need to do to make (loved ones name) feel totally and completely loved?
  • What are the feelings I will gain if I show love, joy and affection to all that I meet today?



The final theme that came out loud and clear, was that in your last moments you will ask “did I even matter?” or “did I make a difference?”.

Delving deeper, this demonstrates clear links to influencing others’ lives in a positive way.

“The reason for living is giving”

Tony Robbins

We all know inherently that the feeling when helping others is fabulous and fulfilling… The problem my interviewees had was that it’s a tough world out there and we had to look after and protect ourselves. Helping others was always second or third on the agenda.


However it is clear this is not the way to live our lives! Every single person I interviewed wished, in those final moments, that they had contributed more. I think it is safe to say in our last moments we will ask the same, we will wish we had made a difference in others’ lives. If this is true… maybe, just maybe supporting others is looking after ourselves!

Maybe the fact is we all have a purpose to offer this world and those that don’t give the world all they can, regret it.

My advice… don’t have regrets, live to your potential.

Do you feel you could contribute more? Ask yourself:

  • What do I love doing?
  • How can I do this and create benefits to others?
  • What skill or knowledge do I have right now that could improve someones life today?

Putting it all to together

The question I asked at the start of this post was “who are you?” It is a big question and you have some big answers inside. At the end of our lives we will all ask:

Did we really live our lives?

Did we connect deeply with those around us?

Did we make a difference?

Don’t wait until the end of your life to find out how you would answer them. Make sure your answers are the ones you will be proud of!

How Small Talk is Big Talk

Over the last few months, I have been researching a lot of books and literature about the different levels we interact at and the common consensus is we work and communicate on five levels, which are all equally important.

Re-charge – Relaxing and reflecting, this is normally conducted by ourselves and is about mentally refreshing.

Chit-chat – Basic social interactions about trivial matters.

Deep 1-1 conversations – Being fully present, emotionally and intellectually engaged with someone who shares similar values.

Multi-tasking– Focusing on a number of tasks at a given time (you probably spend a lot of time in this zone whilst working!)

Flow – One subject, with deep focus and attention. 

While conducting this research, I realised I have a problem with one of these levels.
My problem was with small talk… Chit-chat… Gossip… Tittle-tattel… those conversations that are conducted socially and are usually about superficial matters.

I personally have found these types of conversations the hardest to give my full self too. I think that is because until discovering their importance I held them in low esteem. I felt this type of interaction held little value or worth and therefore would try to skip the small talk and get onto deeper, more meaningful topics.

What I have learnt since is that chit-chat is vital for building relationships and trust… The idea of discussing in depth subjects with someone you haven’t had even a small connection with previously is a big turn-off for most people.

For me this meant that I rarely had deep and meaningful conversations with many people because I tried to jump right into them, without first connecting on a more surface level. Therefore the impact I had on many people was that I was either a bit intense or just plain weird.


The fact of the matter is, small talk is easy. You won’t go too far wrong if you pay genuine attention, listen well and ask clarifying questions. We can all do it. It’s just that some of us undervalue this level of communication because of the appearance of its lacking depth.

The best analogy I have been told about small talk is to view it like trying on a relationship. Just like you would try on clothes in a store. Small talk is a risk free environment where you can assess each other in a non-threatening or judging way, to see if you have rapport and get along.

If you do, then the deeper more meaningful conversations will follow… If you don’t, both parties can remain at this slightly superficial level with no harm done to anyones feelings.

If you want the big talk, the meaningful talk, then pay attention to the small talk, it is the doorway to deep, authentic connection.

How to deal with really annoying people!

Earlier this week, I spent time with two perfectly pleasant individuals who, on the surface appeared to really dislike each other. No matter what they discussed, it always seemed to finish in a disagreement and sometimes they disagreed before the discussion started!

Upon reviewing this with them both individually, they said that they found the other person really difficult, challenging and stubborn.

This reminded me of the times I have found certain people in my life particularly challenging, rude and sometimes obnoxious. We all have these people in our lives, even now someone has popped into your head while reading this!

What we normally do with these people is either to fight fire with fire, defending our cause to the death and reflecting the rude behaviour they showed. Or we retract inwardly, making our interactions the minimum they have to be.

It may come as a surprise, but I have discovered neither is a good strategy!

A few years ago, I decided this had to change, that I had to change. I did lots of research and I interviewed people who are saintly when interacting with others. Here is what I have learnt and maybe these approaches can help you deal with that really annoying person in your life:

1. Understand what a difficult person is.


In its simplest terms, this will be a person who has a different perception or perspective than you and will communicate that in a way that pokes at your value system.

For example, if a key value you hold is respectfulness and you believe that the way to demonstrate respect is listening to the other person without interruption – then you find that someone who continually interrupts you with disagreements to your perspective, you are highly likely going to find that person difficult to deal with.

So with that in mind, it is important to appreciate the fact that other people can have a different perspective than you AND YOU CAN BOTH BE RIGHT.

2. Ask “What is going on in their world at the moment?”

The overwhelming majority of people will see themselves as ‘the good guys’ and do not deliberately spend their lives trying to be a difficult, obnoxious person! The reality is that there will normally be an external stress or pressure somewhere in that person’s life to cause the bad behaviour. Except this and you can easily stop taking their actions as a personal attack.

One particular example of this has stuck with me. I once opened a door to get into a building and a woman walking the other way barged past me without a word. I was offended by this rude behaviour instantly and sarcastically shouted “Thank you” in her general direction. I later found out that she had just been told that her son had been in a serious car accident and was rushing to the hospital to find out if he was okay. Who was the difficult and obnoxious person?

3. Ask “What does this person need?”

As described above, bad behaviour is rarely a hobby for people, so understanding that the difficult person you are dealing with will need something in that moment is important. Do they need a break from the discussion? Do they need to be listened to? Or maybe they need encouragement?

4. Listen to understand… Don’t listen to defend!


Listening to defend is letting the other person speak, just so you can gather more information to argue your point! This is literally useless and will not improve the relationship one bit!

It is common sense that understanding others point of view is critical in building relationships, rapport, gaining trust and creating a collaborative working relationship. Common sense is sometimes just not common practice. The key factor here is to take accountability to understand them first, don’t expect them to listen to you first.

5. Clearly communicate your own perspective.

Again this sounds obvious, but this is a common mistake.We assume everyone knows what we know and see what we see.

Don’t assume they see ANYTHING the same as you – people are not mind readers, don’t expect them to be.

I remember a time that I had an argument with my then girlfriend about the colour we should paint the bathroom (Yes -really). Anyway just based on the fact that we were stood in different places in the room, we couldn’t agree on the colour. We literally had a fight about this until I stood in the same place and she was, then I realised that the colour I liked looked awful when the light hit it a certain way!

I assumed she could see the same as what I could see… Never assume!

I hope you enjoyed this post and it help’s you in your relationships with those difficult, annoying people in your life! Remember it’s only fair to share, so please share this post!!