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NOTHING in life is personal

Here in the UK, we are in a hot and dry spell – hot for the UK anyway! Having my morning coffee in the garden with the sun on my face has become a lovely way to start my day. Another newfound joy of mine is appreciating the variety of bird-life around me. A bird-song identifying app called ‘Merlin’ (developed at Cornell University in the USA) has become my go-to thing to do between client sessions. In one 30-minute session last week, it identified 17 different species of birds! I’ve become a bit hooked… As technology goes, it’s not the worst thing I could be hooked to, and it has made me appreciate the place I live more than ever. It also is a good way for my mind to relax, to slow down and be refreshed.

In a similar vein, last week, I spent 1½ days with the innovation department of a company in central London. They came to me to be re-invigorated, as their company has stagnated in the past few years and their new product development pipeline was less than inspiring. Everyone’s willingness to let go of all their old thinking, suspend their analytical brains, and come with fresh eyes to the future was great to witness. By the end of the second day, they had a bunch of new ideas that would be disruptive to their market and delight their customers. Equally important was each team members feeling of being re-energised. It will be fascinating to see what they do with this energy and their ideas in the coming months.

Earlier this week I held review sessions with the UK, Europe and Asia teams in a business-to-business expert services company. They had brought me in to help them not take challenges from their clients personally, to not crumble when being asked for a discount on a pre-agreed price, and to find ways to improve their business relationships when their client’s needs change. During the sessions in May with approximately 90 people, the first thing I wanted them to see the absolute truth of is that nothing (and I mean nothing) that happens in life is personal. It’s a big statement. Especially as many things in life can feel and look personal. Yet, how things feel and look is often not how they are. Once we are not taking things personally and see that however someone acts towards us is all about them, not about us; it makes our ability to listen to them so much better, we are curious (as opposed to closed or defensive) and new ideas to overcome situations are far more likely to come to mind.

In the review sessions I was moved by their countless stories of being far less stressed at work, not being worried about their working week to come as they tried to relax on their Sunday evenings and by how well their business results had improved in such a short period of time. One participant in Singapore also mentioned that he’s listening better to his wife and children and his family have noticed how much nicer he is to be around.

It was a reminder to me that seeing the truth about how we as humans really work impacts all aspects of our lives.


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