The Myth of Positive Thinking

The Right Mindset. The Right Attitude. The Right Approach. Most successful business people and entrepreneurs agree that how you think is a crucial factor in whether your business is a fantastic money-making, self-esteem-boosting, headline-worthy success or an embarrassing, money-draining and demoralising failure.

What there is less agreement about, however, is what constitutes the Right Mindset.

Some people think that a positive attitude is the most important thing. I agree with that up to a point. But if a positive attitude means a Pollyanna-style ‘isn’t everything wonderful’ approach to life, then I don’t agree that it will contribute to your success.

If a positive attitude is recognising that even though there is a problem, there will also be a solution, then you’re closer to being on my wavelength.

If a positive attitude is a purposeful attitude, I think we might be in business.

A purposeful attitude means that you know what you want to achieve. It means that you have goals and plans. It means that you are committed to timescales and deadlines.

Having a purposeful attitude means that even if you feel tired, demoralised or demotivated, even if you’re low in confidence, creativity or cash, you can still get on and do something.

The real art of a successful mindset is not about always being upbeat, positive and confident. The real art is in continuing to get things done even when you don’t feel upbeat, positive or confident.

It’s the determined focus on fulfilling your promises, on meeting your deadlines and using your capabilities regardless of how you feel today. As human beings, we are emotional beings. Emotions come and go, moods change and motivation fluctuates.

Today, ask yourself this: What tasks can I do even when I feel like s***? What progress can I make even when I feel like giving up? What can I do to remind myself that feeling good isn’t a pre-requisite condition for success?

[Video] Being at Cause

If you've read any books about NLP or you've attended a seminar or training programme, you've probably heard the phrase 'Being at cause'. And I hope that you've picked up that that's a desirable state to be in. There are, however, some misunderstandings about what it really means and I thought it might be worthwhile just clarifying what I think it means and how it can be useful…




What else can you do?

I was reading a post on Bob Howard-Spink’s blog in which he compares to-do lists with Leonardo Da Vinci and suggests that as well as a ‘to-do’ list, we can all benefit from having a ‘things I’ve done’ list.

(You can read the complete post at

So it got me thinking. Have you ever noticed that there’s something you find easy to do, but which other people admire and regard you as very skilled because you can do it when they find it hard?
Chances are, you acquired that skill in a completely different phase of your life or in a different context, but nonetheless it gave a capability that you can be proud of.

For example, in my 20s, when I did a lot of competitive debating, I never imagined that one day it would give me total confidence in front of a video camera! But when I trace back the origin of my ability to speak to camera without any notes, I’m pretty sure it’s a consequence of many hours spent at a particularly barbaric form of debating known as ‘2-person debating’. (Five minutes to prepare then the toss of a coin decides which side you’re on.)

Whatever the niche that you currently operate in, I’m sure there’s a lot more that you can do and many more activities that you enjoy.

What about making a list of your capabilities? Not the kind of list you make to impress a potential client or to put on a CV. Just a list for your own pleasure. A list of things you can do. To remind you how far you’ve come in your journey through life and to appreciate the opportunities you’ve had.
My list would include: Hanging wallpaper, baking a cake, reversing a canal boat into a berth (you don’t know how impressive that is unless you’ve ever tried it!), ballroom dancing and chairing a meeting with formal progress of a motion in line with Roberts’ Rules of Order. And I might add measuring a man for a bespoke suit but I wouldn’t want to brag…

So, come on, today celebrate the amazing skills that you’ve picked up over the years and revel in the variety of different things you can turn your hand to. There is more to life than niche marketing!

Here it is

“Here it is”.  My husband interrupted my impatient scanning of the shelves in front of me and pressed a small book into my hands. I stared. He really had found it.

Familiar territory, to go to a bookstore and search the shelves for something, frustration mounting because it doesn’t seem to be where I’d expect it to be. Normally, I’d simply ask one of the staff. But on this day, I felt reluctant to ask, because I wasn’t actually going to buy the book. I wrote it.

And that’s very unfamiliar territory.

Suddenly, all the tension was gone. I stared at the book in my hands and a wash of emotion carried a single fact into my brain. I‘m a writer. A published writer.

Not only that. My book is on sale in the same bookstore where I bought at least half of the books on my shelves at home.

It’s the fulfilment of a childhood dream. I wanted to be a writer even as quite a small child.  I remember being laughed at when, asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I replied, “I want to be an author”. The laughter was because I couldn’t pronounce it. It came out more like, “I want to be an earther”.

But earther, author or writer, I’m amazed at how much it means to me. The rational adult in me knows that to the rest of the world it’s an ordinary book and will be read by a small audience. But somewhere inside there is a small child jumping for joy and yelling, “I TOLD YOU SO!!!”


Here's the link to my book on Amazon. Would you like a copy?


[Video] Why do we teach NLP to business leaders?

One of the questions I often get asked is why do we teach NLP to business leaders? Lots of people have heard of NLP. Sometimes when I meet someone socially and they ask what I do for a living, when I tell them what I do – that I teach NLP to business leaders – they say 'but isn't NLP about psychotherapy and stuff like that?' Well certainly that's where it started out…