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April 2018

Often we hear stories of professional footballers and sports people who, as they come to the ends of their careers, struggle with fact they are no longer number one or first choice on the team sheet. They miss the adulation and the crowds, the excitement and the buzz of competition. The transition in to normal life can be very challenging.

Actors also often struggle as they become of a mature age, with fewer roles on offer and sometimes their past experiences and successes count for nothing as they seek new parts in plays and films. Their agent stops phoning them and it can be a frustrating time.

Some are better than others in finding new ventures and careers in coaching, media or even away from their sport or the acting world altogether. Or they just settle for a part on a reality television programme, often to the amusement of the general public.

But do we suffer the same or could potentially suffer in the future? Are our skills up to date? Do businesses value our knowledge, skills, ways of thinking and experiences? Do we, like the sports personalities and the actors need to think about our future and focus how we can Future Proof ourselves?

An entertaining autobiography by Adebayo Akinfenwa tells of his career as  a lower league footballer and how he is making plans for the next steps in his life. He very much is taking the Future Proof Yourself concept on and making it happen.

Adebayo, unlike the premier league players, won’t have enough money to just sit back and swim in champagne swimming pools for the rest of his life. He has maximised his potential as a footballer and now he has a plan and good on him!

Who is he? Well, he plays for my local team Wycombe Wanderers and when he joined us a few years ago I thought: “Why would we want him?” He isn’t your typical athletic footballer but he has a great style and  attitude. He’s never injured and never misses a game and has been a great team player, scoring crucial goals for us. Google him if you want to find out more.

So, what’s his plan? He has set up his own brand and has become very well know on social media. He is looking to make things happen by  appearing on all sorts of programmes. He is known as the world’s strongest footballer and has even been working with a games developer.

 
 

Jan 2018

New Year – New Learning Opportunities

Welcome to 2018 - 365 days of new experiences, that’s if you take them!

Experiences come in all types of formats; conversations, reading, watching, physically doing something, travel, networking, listening, understanding someone’s point of view, new places, new friends, and many more.

So, do we take the opportunity to learn or just end up doing the same things over and over again?

Learning can be very motivational but it’s essential in our careers to keep learning; - technical skills, people skills, IT Skills, social media skills, industry and market knowledge.

Have you considered, no matter what age you are now, how will you keep yourself employable until you retire? It’s a tough question to answer and many of us shy aware from it.

Mention the word annual ‘appraisal’ and again most of us dislike the concept. No matter what our company does in terms of appraisals or Personal Development Reviews (PDRs) or if we work for ourselves I doubt we enjoy the process.

But we should as professionally it is vital to know what we are good at and what needs improving. Also, where are our future opportunities and how do we take them, plus what can hold us back?

So, go grab a coffee, switch your phone off, get out a notebook and start asking yourself: “How will I make my self marketable for the rest of my working days?”

If you need any help please drop me a line.

Talking of learning from experiences my book of the month is Eddie Izzard’s autobiography ‘Believe Me’. What an inspiring read about a person who struggled to make a career as an actor. He started as a street performer and went through the tough route as a stand up comic, continually learning what worked and what didn’t to become a great actor. The book naturally covers many other areas of his life that he had to address in being transgender, but what grabbed my attention was how he constantly went out of his comfort zone to take on new experiences and to keep learning.

So, make 2018 the year you go and grab a new experience or two. There are plenty out there.

 
 

Dec 2017

The ultimate Christmas gift that doesn’t cost a penny - How do you want people to feel once they have met you?

Dear Readers,

How often do we sit down and think about this?
Our focus is often on what we want to achieve or
get from a meeting or a conversation rather than
thinking of the impact we have on others.

Coming up to the season of good will what can you give others?

Your time
Your listening
Your interest and engagement
Your understanding,
Your consideration
Your patience
You being present in a conversation
Your empathy

During social gatherings over Christmas try and observe and notice how often people finish off each other’s sentences or just interrupt the person who is talking. We are all guilty, but we just aren’t conscious that we are doing it. We are too busy wanting to say our bit rather than being present in a conversation.

I call it “blokes down the pub” conversation. Notice how many times the topic of conversation changes as no one is really listening but just wanting to add their anecdote and talk across others and compete with the views or experiences.

We often interject with statements like: “But when we went…”, “What you should do…”, “Did I tell you the time…” or “The best thing to do is…” instead of actively listening.

To help us all improve our understanding in relationships and communication I highly recommend the book Your Brain is Boss by Dr Lynda Shaw. The pages on 'how do you want people to feel when they leave your meetings' are refreshing and help you stay engaged during conversations and challenge you understand people’s feelings, which ultimately helps you to build trust with whoever you deal with. The book covers the importance of being there for the other person, which in turn will make you more influential in your dealings with others.

Don’t forget to give listening as a Christmas present to all you meet.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas,