The MAGIC Formula – Connecting to Yourself – Exercising in Nature

The MAGIC Formula - Exercise in Nature

The MAGIC formula:

Moving
Attuning
Giving
Inspiring
Connecting

It applies to:

Yourself
Your clients
Your team
Your prospects 

Right Royals

I am currently enjoying The Crown on Netflix. Say and think what you like about the Royal family, you have to admire their commitment to getting outdoors for some good healthy exercise.

Happy Paddler

Those who know me will know that I have a kayaking habit. I take out my sit-on-top kayak once a week for two to three hours. I paddle around, stop halfway for lunch on the riverbank.

It’s not a fast boat, but I love it. Over the last few years, I have seen some amazing things on these trips: pairs of kingfishers chasing each other across the canal; a deer swimming across the river just metres behind me; a fox racing me along the riverbank as I paddled along; a stoat coming and sitting a few metres away as I cooked up my baked beans. Special moments, unlikely to be repeated, which have become treasured memories.

Why am I so committed to kayaking every week, even when it’s freezing cold? It’s not just a nice thing to do, I believe it is essential for my work. Why is this?

I think we should all aim to do some exercise regularly in the great outdoors because:

– it is good for our mental health,
– It’s good for our physical health and fitness,
– It is intellectually stimulating and challenging, and
– it’s great thinking time.

Mental Space

Getting outside for a walk, cycle, or kayak gives you great headspace time. Your horizons literally get bigger, your eyes open to the wonders of nature, you get time to think. And time not to think.

I would encourage you to take off your headphones. Allow yourself to hear the birds, the rush of the wind, the patter of the raindrops. Let your brain slow down a bit. Get some perspective.

Better Body

Exercise is good for your body. I realise that is not a groundbreaking statement. But worth repeating nevertheless. It is an excellent antidote to sitting at your desk all day. Sitting a lot makes your muscles ache – I’m sure you’ve experienced this. Some vigorous exercise can help to alleviate that, to dispel some stiffness.

Muscle strength is also crucial for good posture and maintaining balance, particularly as we get older. I think decent strength and stamina reduces our risk of picking up annoying injuries as we go about our daily lives.

And I find that the change in focal length is refreshing. Staring at a screen all day means our eyes are always focused at one distance. Going outside to bigger horizons gives them a rest.

Health-wise, the benefits of vitamin D are well known. As well as being beneficial for your bones and joints, there are reports that it might even help to prevent  COVID-19.
I’m a big advocate in getting out in all weathers. I love the Scottish maxim that there is no bad weather, only the wrong clothes. Wim Hof might seem slightly extreme with his ice walks and ice swims, but it has been demonstrated that exposing yourself to a bit of shiver-inducing cold each day could help to improve your immune system.

Get out there so that the sun, rain and wind can hit your face. You’ll feel better. And you’ll look healthier, in person and in all those Zoom meetings.

Brain Boost

One of the reasons I love kayaking is the problem-solving and challenging situations it throws up. Maybe there’s a tree down across the river, and I have to get past it. Maybe a strap has snapped on my kayak, and I have to improvise.

If you have been camping, you will know that this involves all sorts of problem-solving situations. I find this very stimulating and a welcome change from the everyday computer-based thinking.

Nature itself is also intellectually and creatively stimulating: the beauty, the intricacy, the ingenuity. You can derive all sorts of inspiration from observing plants and animals. I like to explore natural environments with different degrees of human management: carefully managed parks, slightly wilder farmland, and occasionally wilderness – although that is hard to find these days.

Pondering and Percolating

Taking some time go for a walk or engage in some other sort of outdoors activity is also wonderful thinking time. Even if you don’t consciously focus on a particular problem, your brain will be percolating ideas in the background. There are countless times when a breakthrough, an epiphany or a moment of inspiration has come to me while walking the dog. It is always worth having a notepad or phone handy, so you can make a note of these flashes of inspiration.

Now, where are your coat and boots?


Download my free eBook “Be Kind to Yourself” and learn how to:

  • Adapt to new ways of working
  • Harness the power of habits
  • Optimise the use of space in your home
  • Use clothes to boost productivity
  • Focus on what matters
  • Plan for the future amidst uncertainty

The MAGIC Formula – Connecting to Yourself – Time Management

The MAGIC Formula - Time Management

The MAGIC formula:

Moving
Attuning
Giving
Inspiring
Connecting

It applies to:

Yourself
Your clients
Your team
Your prospects 

Time to Take Control

It is a zero-sum game. There are only a fixed amount of hours in your day, your week, your year.

To connect with yourself, you need space. To enable this, you need to take charge of your time management. It is too easy to let it run away with you. Take control so that you can live a fulfilling, productive and sustainable life. Run your time, don’t let time run you.

Yes and No

Saying yes to one thing will always mean saying no to something else. It’s unavoidable. Agreeing to an evening business meeting means saying no to watching TV. Arranging a weekend with the family might mean missing a conference. Taking on a new job or project could mean forfeiting some rest and recreation.

We only have a certain amount of hours.

So how do we ensure that we give our time and energy to the things that matter?

Time and Values

How we allocate our time directly stems from our personal values.

Think about new parents. They may well argue that their time is not their own – all their time and energy is taken by their new baby. I know the feeling, I’ve been there three times! However, even this is a reflection on their values.

Their child is the most important thing in the parents’ lives, hence their willingness to sacrifice time. It is still a choice. They could theoretically decide to neglect the child. But the parents don’t do this because of their values.

This concept translates into other areas of your life. You might argue that your job demands all your time, but, at the end of the day, it is up to you. Ultimately you might decide that you don’t want to give it that status and that might mean you have to change jobs. It is your job, it is your time, it is your choice.

Big Rocks


You may well be familiar with the image of putting big rocks, stones and sand into a jar:

– The big rocks represent the essential things in life, e.g., significant birthdays, weddings, funerals, holidays.
– The stones are the important things: critical work meetings, regular exercise, time for reflection., etc.
– The sand is everything else, the hundred emails that come in every day, ad hoc meetings, telephone calls.

The lesson from the jar is that if you put all the sand in first, there’s no room for anything else. Put the big rocks in first, then the stones, and then let the sand fill in the gaps.

Your Time is Your Own

Crucially, remember that you have ultimate agency in all of this. It is your choice, every step of the way. And remember, your time management will be different from anybody else’s.

You have your own unique set of people and pressures making demands. Your energy levels through the day will be different from anyone else’s.

Work out your priority list, put the big rocks in first and go from there. I love the book Essentialism (#ad) by Greg McKeown. He encourages us to work out the things that only we can do and then leave the rest to others.

Time to Observe

Practically, how do you go about time management?

It is useful to observe yourself. Think about how tired certain activities make you. How much rest do you need? How much time do you need for recreation, exercise and meals?
Work out what is realistic and sustainable for you in terms of a work-life rhythm. Do you put sufficient time buffers between zoom meetings, for example, so you can recharge and reset your brain?

Your needs will be different from those of others. When planning your diary, use your imagination to visualise the coming day or week. Picture how you will cope with the schedule you’re putting in place.

Call Time

Consider how you want to receive phone calls. Are you happy to answer a call at any time? I’m not! I view a phone call as an ad-hoc meeting. Personally, I am not ready to have a meeting the moment somebody else decides they want one. I need time to prepare.
In an attempt to manage this, I now use Calendly so people can book in for calls. Some people really don’t like it, but even they are realising that I probably won’t pick up the phone immediately. They now leave a message or text asking to speak at a later time. It seems to be working…

Tightrope Time

It’s all about work-life-balance. Or as I like to call it, work-life-magic 🙂

From my physical theatre and circus background, I learned that there are two types of balance: static and dynamic.

Static balance is where something is poised and balanced without moving, precisely even weight distribution. Think of a see-saw with no-one on it. Sometimes we think that our work-life balance should be like this, that we can achieve the perfect balance, and then it is just set forever.

However, I think life is much more like a dynamic balance. Picture a tightrope walker continually adjusting their weight, shifting one way or the next with their arms or balance pole.

As you go through life, your circumstances change, and you will need to shift and adjust to create a sustainable rhythm. Sometimes you will need to work more. Sometimes you will need more leisure. That is natural.

Ultimately, remember, you have agency. It is up to you. It all depends on your priorities.

Is it time to find your work-life-magic?


Download my free eBook “Be Kind to Yourself” and learn how to:

  • Adapt to new ways of working
  • Harness the power of habits
  • Optimise the use of space in your home
  • Use clothes to boost productivity
  • Focus on what matters
  • Plan for the future amidst uncertainty

The MAGIC Formula – Moving Yourself – The Power of Music

The MAGIC Formula - The Power of Music

The MAGIC formula:

Moving
Attuning
Giving
Inspiring
Connecting

It applies to:

Yourself
Your clients
Your team

Your prospects 

The Power of Music

I step off the bus at the central bus station in Heathrow facing a long walk with two wheelie cases to Terminal 2: Endless corridors, lifts and travellators.

But then the transformation.

I put on my noise-cancelling headphones and fire up Forty Licks, the best of the Rolling Stones

A smile comes on my face.

With “Street Fighting Man” in my ears, It’s all I can do to stop myself strutting like Mick Jagger, with a spring in my step. And the tedious journey suddenly becomes a pleasure. I’m a rock star!

I get to the queue for check-in. A big grin on my face with my feet tapping. I have to reign it in a bit, so the other passengers don’t think I’m mad.

Music is a marvellous thing.

All humans have loved it since time began. It has magical power to change our moods.

Why not use it intentionally?

I suggest that you can use music to improve your work and life by using it to:

– put you in the right mood for the activity at hand,
– inspire yourself
– help you to concentrate, and
– help you connect spiritually.

Getting In the Mood

Five minutes before chairing a challenging Zoom meeting, I put on my headphones and crank up “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’Roses, and dance around my office, juggling and jiggling like a crazy thing. Suffice to say, I begin the meeting energised!

When entering a national speech competition, I realised that my speech needed to hit a higher tempo in the rhythm of my words. I wanted to get more energy into it and to make sure it lasted precisely the right amount of time. I discovered that the beat I needed was exactly the same as “Staying Alive” by The Bee Gees. So I played that to myself before I went on.

I love cooking. I love cooking even more when I have Radio 2 on in the background. Chop, stir, dance, sing, chop. I’m showing my age, you will have your own special music and favourite station.

Music can energise you, it can motivate you. It can change your mood.

Let the Choir Inspire

Music can be inspirational. If you listen to lots of different music, especially music with lyrics. It will give you new ideas, new poetic phrases that may inspire your work and your life. I encourage you to listen to music outside your typical tastes. It will give you an insight into how others think and feel.

I love all sorts of music and make a point of listening to a wide range: heavy rock cheesy pop, folk, 80s hip hop, and even a bit of classical in extremis(!)

Concentration Now Begins

It seems counterintuitive, but much of the time having music in the background actually aids concentration rather than splitting our focus. I found this intriguing article in The Guardian, which explains why.

I have indeed found this true from experience. Putting some music on enables me to focus on a task when I would otherwise be demotivated or vulnerable to distraction.

Spiritual Connection

And finally, music can help you to connect spiritually. You may or may not be religious. If you are then you will be familiar with worship music, and how this plays a massive role in both personal and corporate devotion.

But, even if we are not religious, we all have songs that mean something to us.

And we all know that certain songs can de-stress us and calm us down. Some pieces can move us to tears, others can inspire us.

Think about how you can use music intentionally to improve both your work and your life.

Music may be the food of love, but it is the food of so much more as well. Play on.

Download my free eBook “Be Kind to Yourself” and learn how to:

  • Adapt to new ways of working
  • Harness the power of habits
  • Optimise the use of space in your home
  • Use clothes to boost productivity
  • Focus on what matters
  • Plan for the future amidst uncertainty

The MAGIC Formula – Moving Yourself – Values

The MAGIC Formula- Moving Yourself - Values

The MAGIC formula:

Moving
Attuning
Giving
Inspiring
Connecting

It applies to:

Yourself
Your clients
Your team
Your prospects 

Value Added

Values are incredibly, well, valuable. They are fundamentally important.

Many thanks to Michelle Mills-Porter for reminding me how important they are. She is an expert on personality types, she can profile someone at a hundred paces (sort of). She is passionate about tools like DiSC. Still, she emphasised to me that, even before you start looking at personality types, you need to think about values. They are the building blocks from which everything else is constructed.

Uncovering Hidden Values

How do you discern your values?

It is worth taking some time to think about what is really important to you. Some aspects of this may be obvious, others less so. How do you discern this?

If you’re not sure, think about what gets your emotions going.

For years I was confused by myself. I’m not an especially emotional person, I don’t cry very much, and I hardly ever get angry. But every time I watched the musical Cabaret, I found myself getting really angry and crying.

My emotions were stirred up.

I reflected on it and realised that this showed me that I value people having freedom. And I hate to see it when they have that freedom denied.

I also tend to cry whenever I see any piece of good theatre. It doesn’t matter if it’s sad, happy, or even just silly. If it is excellently done. I will probably start crying. I’ve been known to do it in theatre adaptations of toddlers TV shows, just because the production was so good! Why is that? I realised that I value creativity, and I love people being able to express themselves in their own creative ways. Again, I think it’s to do with freedom.

What’s Your List?

Early on in our marriage, my wife and I talked about what was important to us. We’re both Christians, so our initial stab at establishing our benchmark values had God first, family next, and work third.

After further thinking and more years, I realised that self-care has to be up there as well. You can’t help others if you are in pieces yourself, so you have to look after yourself to be able to serve them. Consequently, my priority list now looks like this:

God,
self,  
wife,
family,
work,
other stuff.

Your list will probably look different. That’s OK, the important thing is that you think about it.

Decisions, Decisions…

Once you have established your priority list, it makes decision making, easier. Every time you have to make a life decision, you can measure it against your list: What will be the impact on myself, my partner, my family, etc.?

For example, a work assignment that would take you away for six months from your family may not be an option. Or it may be. It depends on your value list.

Valuable Reflection

It is a good idea to build in regular reflection time just to check that your life and work are still congruent with your values. It is so easy to drift.

If you do unconsciously drift, you will probably notice a dissatisfaction and unease in yourself, because what you’re doing is not aligned with your values. Regular reflection should help you to identify this and think about whether there is anything you can do to put it right.


Look at your values, reflect on your values regularly and check each decision you make against them.

Values are so, well, valuable.

Download my free eBook “Be Kind to Yourself” and learn how to:

  • Adapt to new ways of working
  • Harness the power of habits
  • Optimise the use of space in your home
  • Use clothes to boost productivity
  • Focus on what matters
  • Plan for the future amidst uncertainty

Be Kind by MAGIC – Connecting with Clients

Connecting with Clients

Being Kind is your business super-power.

How do you Be Kind in Business? By applying the MAGIC formula:

Moving
Attuning
Giving
Inspiring
Connecting

It applies to:

Yourself
Your clients
Your team
Your prospects 

Connecting with clients. 

Connecting is at the end of my MAGIC acronym. But that is just because it is the last letter in the word magic! It could come first, but the spelling would be wrong.

Connecting affects all the other aspects that we have talked about so far. The key to working with clients or anybody else is relationships. And there is no relationship without connection.

I suggest that it will pay dividends for you to reflect on:

  • the levels at which are connecting with your clients,
  • how often you are connecting with your clients, and
  • how you are connecting with your clients.

How Deep?

All of us have relationships at different levels.

Jesus had three friends, Peter, James and John, who were the closest to him. Then he had the circle of 12 apostles and then a wider circle of several hundred disciples.

Each of us will have a small number of close friends and family, then our circle of people we know quite well. And then a much larger number of acquaintances. A lot of these might be Facebook friends or LinkedIn connections.

Imagine concentric circles. In reality, there will be many more than three circles, because you will have a unique level of connection with each person.

At what level are you connecting with your clients?

Obviously, the level of connection with your clients will grow as you get to know them better. It is a good thing to strive for. The more connection you build, the greater the level of trust and the greater the extent to which you will be able to help them.

You can be intentional about deepening your connections.

How to Win Friends…

Dale Carnegie’s seminal book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” (#ad) is brilliant on this. If you haven’t read it, make it the next book you read. I left it for far too long before I read it, just because I thought the title sounded manipulative. I was missing out on gold.

Carnegie makes the powerful observation that people that love talking about themselves – it is always their favourite subject!

Make a habit of regularly asking your clients questions about themselves. Make sure you remember what they say for next time. Take notes if necessary. I use Evernote.

The most comfortable place to build connections is around things that you have in common, perhaps interests or hobbies, maybe aspects of your work, possibly shared likes and dislikes. You might also have shared connections and friends.

But you can also ask them about non-shared stuff. Unusual hobbies they have that you don’t, but you can show an interest. Alternatively, exciting pieces of work they have done that you can ask them about.

Taboo Subjects?

Other subjects can enter in as your relationship grows. Some of them will require a sensitive and gradual approach. For example, asking about family. But, if they bring it up first and mention their partner, children, etc. then you can refer back to them later.

Other topics might be spirituality and religion. For some, this is a complete no-no, but for others, it will deepen the connection markedly. You might find you have to talk in “code” for a bit to establish that you’re on the same page. 

Similarly, with politics, some people love talking about it, others don’t. It can either strengthen your connection or divide you. You may think it’s not worth the risk and that it is best to avoid this altogether but, again, in some cases, it could really strengthen your bond.

Too Much, Too Little? Find the Goldilocks Frequency

Think about how often you are connecting with your clients. What frequency is appropriate? You don’t want to annoy them and pester them, but you also want them to know that you haven’t forgotten them.

It’s finding a balance – not too often, not too little. 

And How?

Think about the ways that you are connecting. What is the most appropriate method for each time you connect?

You will probably discover that each client has a favoured method of connection. Even so, there will be times when you use a different channel, depending on what you are trying to communicate.

Think about the most appropriate way of connecting with your clients on each occasion – a phone call, Zoom call, email, face to face meeting, social media message, etc.

Connect and Build

Every time you physically or virtually connect with your clients, make sure you establish an emotional connection as well. Aim to build your relationship with them a little further.

Connecting is key.

Download my free eBook “Be Kind to Yourself” and learn how to:

  • Adapt to new ways of working
  • Harness the power of habits
  • Optimise the use of space in your home
  • Use clothes to boost productivity
  • Focus on what matters
  • Plan for the future amidst uncertainty

Be Kind by MAGIC – Inspire your Clients

Inspire your clients

Being Kind is your business super-power.

How do you Be Kind in Business? By applying the MAGIC formula:

Moving
Attuning
Giving
Inspiring
Connecting

It applies to:

Yourself
Your clients
Your team
Your prospects

Emotions are a much more powerful driver than logic. Inspire your clients and you could be the catalyst of life-changing action.

You can inspire your clients in several ways:

  • Help them to see their achievements in a different light,
  • Help them to describe themselves differently,
  • Help them to imagine possible future scenarios, and
  • Help them to set goals to achieve greater things.

But What You Actually Did Was…

Sometimes what we do feels very ordinary, but looks extraordinary to people who are looking on. You can help your clients to see their achievements as something special.

Help your clients to identify defining achievements. This may well involve working with them to reframe what they have already done, to look back at their work and personal lives and realise what they have accomplished. And then re-label it. This can be very affirming and inspiring.

They suddenly realise that they are something that they didn’t realise they were – for example, a facilitator, manager or mentor.

Maybe they have successfully raised four children as a mother? The time, resource and people management lessons and experience from this are significant and all-too-often go unacknowledged.

Did You Realise That You Are Actually A…?

When you enable your client to reframe their past experience, it could inspire them to explore previously unconsidered future roles. Maybe your client has not yet realised that they could legitimately describe themselves as a coach, a mentor, a manager, or some other role?

Look together at what they have done and explore together whether they could describe themselves differently. And once they have started describing themselves differently to themselves, they can be inspired to describe themselves in that way to others as well.

Encourage them to take up a daily mantra or affirmation which they say to themselves first thing in the morning, e.g. “I am a successful manager of people and resources. My work enables others to work together well and ensures that time and materials are used most effectively.”

Repeating this to themselves will shift their self-image and inspire them to see what could happen next.

What Could Be?

Help your clients to imagine possible future scenarios.

You can be brave for them, and imagine a possible future reality which they may be too nervous to imagine for themselves. Whereas they might think it is impossible at the moment, you can ask them the questions, “Why not?”, “Could you possibly do it?”, “What would have to be necessary for you to achieve that?” You may also have ideas that they have never thought of. Help them to create an image of them achieving it, so they can picture it in their mind.

Then encourage your client to identify obstacles. Some may be real, but most are probably perceived and imaginary. Some may be real but possible to overcome, maybe with a little training or some outside help. Again, ask “Why not?” and enable them to picture the obstacles disappearing or being overcome.

Goal!

Inspire your clients by aiding them to set challenging goals.

Michael Hyatt is excellent on this. He identifies three areas in which we can set goals:

  • our comfort zone, goals which are too easy to achieve and therefore don’t stretch us;
  • the delusional zone, goals which are too difficult, and we will never attain them, and thus get discouraged; 
  • and then there is our discomfort zone, the sweet spot for our goals. Projects that will stretch us slightly, but we can get there. We will be challenged and learn things along the way, and grow as a result.

Inspire your clients to set goals in the discomfort zone.

What About Accountants and Lawyers?

You might think that professionals like accountancy and the legal profession have little room for inspiration. But why not?

Identify pain points for your clients, and then show them how you could help them overcome them. Suggest what life could be like for them after they have worked with you. This will inspire them to go ahead and to keep going when things get tough.


Inspiration is potent. It is a real driver. Be kind to your clients, inspire them.

Download my free eBook “Be Kind to Yourself” and learn how to:

  • Adapt to new ways of working
  • Harness the power of habits
  • Optimise the use of space in your home
  • Use clothes to boost productivity
  • Focus on what matters
  • Plan for the future amidst uncertainty

Be Kind by MAGIC – Giving to Your Clients

Being Kind is your business super-power.

How do you Be Kind in Business? By applying the MAGIC formula:

Moving
Attuning
Giving
Inspiring
Connecting

It applies to:

Yourself
Your clients
Your team
Your prospects 

Giving to your clients is a surefire way to better business.

We are all customers or clients at some point.

Bring to mind a time where your service provider or vendor exceeded your expectations or did something special for you. They gave something extra. It sticks in your mind, doesn’t it?How can you do the same?

Obviously, we can’t give everything away for nothing to our clients. We have to make a living. It has to be sustainable, we have to give within our means. But, if we can find the balance, there are big benefits to being generous to our clients, and we can probably afford to give slightly more than we think.

Sometimes it will repay in the long run, sometimes it won’t. And even if it doesn’t, it’s a good thing to do because it makes us better, both as people and as businesses.So how can we give to our clients?

More Than They Were Expecting

Firstly we can exceed expectations: under-promise and over-deliver. Surprise them by how good we are, by giving them more time than they were expecting, or more attention.

My accountant’s bill, especially in the early days, often had the phrase “exceeded but not billed” next to his tally of hours. He obviously thought I’d be rich one day and was happy to encourage my loyalty!

Maybe you can offer something other than time? Can you provide extra add-on resources that your clients will value? Downloads, videos, links to useful services?

We All Love a Present

I buy magic tricks from a magic dealer who often encloses a little packet of sweets inside the package. It makes me feel good. Another one sometimes includes a small extra trick as a pleasant surprise.

Could you send a special gift to your clients?I signed up for a course last week, and was sent the course materials. They came in a blue sparkly padded bag. It could have been a regular padded bag, but the sparkly blue effect made me feel valued.

Can you package your delivery in a way that will make your client feel like a VIP? How can you roll out the metaphorical red carpet?

Say Something Special

An easy way to give something is to say something positive and unexpected.

You can simply offer encouragement to your clients, say thank you for their business, say well done when they achieve something. Tell them that they are special and that you value their business.

Why not go a step further and send a card, or buy them lunch or coffee?

Have you Met…?

You can share your network with your clients, help them to plug into it to increase their range of contacts. You can provide them with recommendations, and you can recommend them to other people.

Not giving something physical, but giving them a leg-up and new opportunities.

Work For Free??!!

Can you offer pro bono work?

“Pro bono” literally means “for the good of the people.”

This is a common practice in legal and accountancy practices. I wondered why they did it. Then I read this enlightening blog post on the business case for pro bono work: http://www.a4id.org/policy/business-case-for-pro-bono/

In a nutshell, graduate lawyers are increasingly keen on including pro bono as part of their professional offering. If a firm offers pro bono work, they will attract better graduates. Better graduates will earn more money in the long run. It makes business sense.

Could you do some pro bono work? If it works for lawyers and accountants, why not for coaches and other kinds of client services? I know magicians and other entertainers who have decided to do a percentage of charity gigs each year.

Think about how you can be generous in your client work. How are you giving to your clients?

Make them feel special. You will stick in their minds.

Download my free eBook “Be Kind to Yourself” and learn how to:

  • Adapt to new ways of working
  • Harness the power of habits
  • Optimise the use of space in your home
  • Use clothes to boost productivity
  • Focus on what matters
  • Plan for the future amidst uncertainty

Be Kind by MAGIC -Attuning to Your Clients

Being Kind is your business super-power.

How do you Be Kind in Business? By applying the MAGIC formula:

Moving
Attuning
Giving
Inspiring
Connecting

It applies to:

Yourself
Your clients
Your team
Your prospects 

Attuning to your clients is all about understanding them, and then modifying how you serve them as a result.

There are three steps to attuning:

Look and Listen

First, you have to look and listen. Observe your client, ask them questions, find out about them and their situation. Spend some time on this; ask the follow-up questions. Note both what they answer and how they answer. Do any questions make them excited, any make them uncomfortable?

Understand

Next, you need to understand what you have found out.

  • Who are they? Get a take on your client’s personality. Maybe a tool such as DiSC , MBTI  or the Enneagram would be helpful here? You won’t be able to do a full analysis, but you should get some interesting pointers and insights. This will help you to work out how much to affirm and encourage, balanced against how much you can challenge them without frightening them.
  • Where are they? You have to understand their situation. What are their problems? Could you help them solve them? Can you see the issue from another angle and reframe it? Or maybe you can see that their perceived problem is not the real problem in the first place? Perhaps the answer they think they want is not actually the answer that they need?
  • What makes them tick? This is probably the most essential aspect in understanding your client. What are their core values, what is important to them? They may well be different to yours, but you need to understand them so that you do not slip up and offend them, or appear to be driving them in a direction which seems wrong to them.

Modify

Finally, once you have understood your client, you can work out how best to serve them. You can decide how you will modify both the style of your presentation and the content of what you provide. In other words, what you say and how you say it.

  • What?
    Think about the most appropriate content for the person or audience in question.
  • How?
    What is the best way to present it? Will they respond best to didactic teaching or participation, to words or pictures, to visual or audio? Or maybe a mixture? And what tone and language will work best? Formal or informal? Lively and bouncy or more restrained? 

Tricks and Schtick

When I’m performing magic, the way I perform the tricks will vary depending on my audience. Often I may use the same tricks but presented very differently. For example, I have a rope trick that I perform at both children’s parties and corporate drinks receptions: same mechanics, very different presentations. And, of course, there are also some tricks which only work in kids’ parties and some that only work in corporate settings.

It is the same when applying my MAGIC formula to help teams and individuals to improve their working relationships. I present it in a slightly different way to a nonprofit manager’s audience than I will, to the leadership of a bank. It’s the same fundamental material, but with a slightly different approach.

How can you modify your offering to those you serve to make it a better fit for each one?

Think about how you can attune to your clients.

Remember:

Observe, Understand, and then Modify.

—Download my free eBook “Be Kind to Yourself” and learn how to:

  • Adapt to new ways of working
  • Harness the power of habits
  • Optimise the use of space in your home
  • Use clothes to boost productivity
  • Focus on what matters
  • Plan for the future amidst uncertainty

Be Kind by MAGIC – Moving Your Clients

Being Kind is your business super-power.

How do you Be Kind in Business? By applying the MAGIC formula:

Moving
Attuning
Giving
Inspiring
Connecting

It applies to:

Yourself
Your clients
Your team
Your prospects 

Moving Your Clients

If you work with clients, you can significantly enhance your offering to them by thinking about how you move them.

How do you move them educationally, moving them from not knowing something to knowing?

How do you help them to see things from a new perspective, moving them from one viewpoint to another viewpoint?

And how do you engage their feelings, moving them emotionally, providing them with an impetus to take action?

Be a Favourite Teacher

You can serve your clients by moving them from one state of knowledge to another. In other words, you can tell them something they didn’t know that will be useful to them.

Maybe it is something about the law? Perhaps a new software tool, services they may be able to access, or some other resources that may be useful to them.

Nifty Shifty

Magicians always have to be careful about angles. If you watch a trick from the wrong place, sometimes you can see things that you weren’t meant to! Seeing things from the best angle is very important for the magic to work.

Working with clients, helping them to see something from another perspective can be very useful. Can you help them to shift to see things from another point of view? To re-frame things, see them from a distance, take an outsider’s view?

Maybe they have intellectual or emotional doubts that are stopping them progressing?  Sometimes those doubts are based on real barriers, but very often, the obstacles are just imagined or perceived. The doubts are like little gremlins sitting on the shoulders that need punching in the nose. Can you help them to shift their viewpoint, so they can sort out the real from the imagined?

Imagine How You Will Feel When…

What emotions can you engage in your clients?

Can you excite them about potential, about what they can imagine happening, but also about what they can’t yet imagine happening? The excitement can motivate them to begin exploring new territory.

Can you help them to flip nervousness about the future, into excitement about adventure?

Can you get them to reflect on the changes they have seen and the progress they have made so that they feel satisfaction and pride?

Maybe there’s even space for inducing a little fear about the consequences of inaction?

Even if you are a lawyer, accountant or in some other seemingly unemotional occupation, there is still scope to engage the emotions of your clients. Paint an imaginative picture of how someone’s life will be better as a result of your involvement. Let them see the potential for change and feel the related emotions.

Moving is a fundamental characteristic of living things. Make sure that you and your clients are moving.

How can you move your clients today?

Download my free eBook “Be Kind to Yourself” and learn how to:

  • Adapt to new ways of working
  • Harness the power of habits
  • Optimise the use of space in your home
  • Use clothes to boost productivity
  • Focus on what matters
  • Plan for the future amidst uncertainty

Be Kind by MAGIC – Connecting to Yourself

Being Kind is your business super-power.

How do you Be Kind in Business? By applying the MAGIC formula:

Moving
Attuning
Giving
Inspiring
Connecting

It applies to:

Yourself
Your clients
Your team
Your prospects 

I’m Back

Sorry that I haven’t blogged for a couple of weeks. Many thanks to those of you who noticed – it’s nice to be missed 🙂

I’ve been on holiday. This has given me a chance to connect to myself, to think about life a bit.

Connecting to yourself is the subject of today’s blog.

Why Connect?

Why should you connect to yourself?

Think about bank statements. Remember paper statements? Some of you might still get them! We all know that you have to open the envelope and look at the bank statement, even if you don’t want to. There is no benefit in denial. It will only make the situation worse.

In the same way, it is vital to connect to yourself so that you are aware of where you’re at, and why you are doing what you’re doing. If something is not right, there is no point living in denial and carrying on regardless. It would only make things worse.

It is so easy to go through life on autopilot, never stopping to ask ourselves why we are doing things. This is how we get stuck in a rut. This is how we lose energy and become listless.

Once you have given yourself the chance to be self-aware, you need to listen to your mind, you need to listen to your body. 

What questions should you ask yourself? What answers should you listen out for? How do you make time to make sure connecting to yourself happens?

The Question of Which Questions?

I have been reminded recently about the importance of connecting with our why. I was talking last week to Amy Rowlinson, who has the fantastic podcast “Focus on Why.” Simon Sinek is also famous for encouraging us to “Start with Why”.

Ask yourself, why you are doing what you are doing? Or, maybe, why you are not doing what you want to be doing?

Once you have worked out your motivation, ask yourself, “Is this working?”

Am I enjoying what I’m doing? Could I do it in a different way to make it more enjoyable? Most of the time, most of the agency for making changes to our working habits lies with ourselves. Work out what needs to change and then make a concrete plan to change it.

Am I working towards my goals or just marking time? It is so easy to fill your day with “busy work” that achieves little and does not move you forward. Could you make any changes to keep you on track?

Body Conscious

Listen to your body.

Am I tired? Am I aching? Feeling sharp? Energetic? Could I make any changes? Revised sleep patterns, change of diet, new office chair….?

Maybe you need to go and see the doctor? Again, there is nothing to be gained by denial.

Life-Saving Routine

Last week, I watched the fantastic David Blaine’s “Ascension.”

I’m a fan of David Blaine as a magician, but he also does these amazing stunts. In this one, he had a bunch of 52 helium balloons. He held on to it as they took him to 23,000 feet, and then he skydived off. The whole thing was live on YouTube. Incredible.

What was very apparent is that he had a strict routine for checking, every step of the way.

At 23,000 feet, held on by a cable to the balloons, he had to put on his parachute. He put it on, and he checked the straps and buckles in strict sequence, at least twice.

It was drilled into him. He had a checking routine. If he hadn’t done it, He would have been risking his life.

Do you have a checking routine for your life?

I would recommend it. If you don’t do it, you are risking a fulfilled life.

What do I mean by this?

Love Your Reflection

I am a huge advocate of building and reflective practices into your life, daily, weekly, and periodically.

Each day, I recommend journaling. A journal can be in various forms. Years ago, I used to do the “artists pages”, recommended by Julia Cameron in the Artists Way (#ad). Two sides of A4 of a stream of consciousness freeform prose, whatever comes into your head. It’s amazing what you write down! You get a real insight into your inner workings.

These days it is more structured and quicker. I do a bullet point journal inspired by Michael Hyatt. It’s a systematic way of reflecting on yesterday and planning for today.

I also walk the dog each day and make a point of not listening to music or podcasts while I’m doing this. My mind is then free to process stuff, to think about life.

Weekly, I do a more involved journal entry every Sunday morning. And I also have a kayaking trip where I take myself off for three hours by myself in nature. Again a chance to process stuff, to think, or even just to zone out for a change. I stop for lunch on the river bank, cook it up on a little stove. It’s a great chance to lie on my back in a field, watch the clouds scud by and ask myself how I’m doing.

And periodically. It’s good to take yourself away on holiday, or maybe even a retreat where you take a deep dive into what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and what you plan to do next.

On reflection, are you reflecting enough?

Be kind to yourself, connect to yourself.


Download my free eBook “Be Kind to Yourself” and learn how to:

  • Adapt to new ways of working
  • Harness the power of habits
  • Optimise the use of space in your home
  • Use clothes to boost productivity
  • Focus on what matters
  • Plan for the future amidst uncertainty