boy running

My little 2 year old boy, Noah, has a tendency to run without looking where he is going. He is often too enthusiastic or caught up in the moment to care about something as trivial as where he feet are and what might be in front of them. As a result, he trips up a lot, bumps into things and gets knocked down on a regular basis. I think this is a common occurrence for happy toddlers. But I have noticed that by the time I can be half way through calling out to him to see if he is okay – he is already getting back up and is off running again. Falling down and getting back up, are to him, part of the same singular motion.

Somehow, as we get older, that all changes. We still get knocked down but we don’t like it and don’t get up as quick and sometimes don’t get back up at all.

Men in particular have a false perspective that because we are ‘blokes’, we should be tough. Men can often think that feelings are reserved for women. Especially sensitive ones like feelings of inadequacy, or insecurity and disappointment. But this is not the case. As a man, I have felt feelings of guilt, depression and discouragement. But I have seen too many other men, experience such feelings and then give up trying for fear of how it makes them look to others. The fear of being seen to fail is crippling for many men. But the great challenge with this is that it shackles them to a life of mediocrity. Destined to swim in shallow waters, never really failing, but never really succeeding either – many just stagnate unaware that it is this fear of failure that is holding them back.

We come into this life innocent, inexperienced, and utterly imperfect. There is something incredibly liberating in acknowledging our imperfections. Not to make excuses, but to be authentic. Keep in mind – we shouldn’t tolerate our inadequacies. Our mission is to fight against them and to improve. But we cannot improve upon them if we fail to admit they exist or if we never fight against them in the first place for fear of failure.

C.S. Lewis once said, “No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives into temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness – they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.”

I want to encourage everyone who reads this post to fight against the fear of failure. This is a temptation that afflicts many people and prevents them from achieving their true potential. Don’t give in after five minutes. Keep fighting it. Stand up against the wind. We learn more about ourselves when we fight our natural fears and become willing to get up each time we fall. Who cares if it’s it a public failure – get back up and keep moving forward. And to the men that are reading, remember that true toughness is not found in hiding from failure, but in being like my son Noah. Fall down and get back up in a single motion. I am grateful for small children that can teach me what it means to be a real man. Run at life. Accept the bumps and bruises and get up quickly each time you fall.


woman not listening

I watched a video clip this morning of different celebrities confirming the truth that fame and wealth don’t bring happiness. It was a refreshing confirmation of a reality that many people choose to ignore.

However, as I reflect, I can’t help but see how consumerism and all the loud noise it creates can force us to listen to the sound of half truths and falsehoods that subconsciously set our agenda for life priorities and define for us what will make us happy. It works its magic upon us without us even realising. Let me give you one surprising example of how commerce has directly influenced you without you knowing it:

Johannes Guttenberg invented the printing press somewhere between 1439 and 1440. Its capacity to introduce mass communication to the world saw it become one of the biggest technological advances of the modern world. One of his goals was to mass print and publish the Bible – something never done before in the history of religion. Unfortunately, to cut a long story short, Gutenberg ended up exiled and bankrupt.

Now for the interesting part of the story – William Caxton, an English merchant is thought to be the first person to introduce the printing press in England. What did he first publish? The Canterbury Tales, by William Chaucer (not quite as noble as the Bible, but he was a businessman!). Why is this all relevant? Because at the time, the English language wasn’t standardised. Which dialect should he chose to print in and why? He set up in Westminster and chose the dialect of the clerks. He chose, metaphorically, the language of money to determine the language for standardisation. Fast forward a few hundred years and we all speak the version of English that we do – thanks to consumerism and the influence of the mighty dollar!

I share this because consumerism, whilst it has its merits, is in many cases, driven by profit more than purpose. Businesses will tell you that purchasing their goods will bring you happiness and value in order for you to buy their product. The CEO of Revlon, Charles Revson famously said “in the factory we make lipstick, in the store we sell hope.” Coke sells happiness (just don’t tell the nutritionists!), McDonalds sells love (though ignore the court cases in 2007 where it was being sold to you by underage workers). Starbucks want to inspire and nurture the human spirit according to their mission statement (although tax avoidance left the UK tax authorities pretty uninspired!).

I say all this because, we should not be defined by pop culture, mass opinions, company agendas or other stereotypical  perspectives that continually bombard us.

Regardless of how we look, what we wear and what we do for work etc. we are all of infinite worth. We need to understand that because we are loved we are of worth. Our capacity to love and be loved is what will bring about our greatest sense of happiness and fulfilment. The security this brings plants our feet on solid ground. It shelters us from the fierce easterly winds of envy. It anchors us in the storms of stress and reassures and comforts us during times of distress and disappointment. If you want to feel happier – do something selfless for someone else. If you want more purpose – make someone happy. Cheer them up and lift their spirits. Change the world one person at a time.



In 1965 a story was published that teaches a beautiful and powerful lesson. It is the story of a paroled convict. A friend of Prison Warden Kenyon J. Scudder happened to be sitting in a railroad coach next to a young man who was obviously depressed. Finally the man revealed that he was a paroled convict returning from a distant prison. His imprisonment had brought shame to his family, and they had neither visited him nor written often. He hoped, however, that this was only because they were too poor to travel and too uneducated to write. He hoped, despite the evidence, that they had forgiven him.

To make it easy for them, however, he had written them to put up a signal for him when the train passed their little farm on the outskirts of town. If his family had forgiven him, they were to put a white ribbon in the big apple tree which stood near the tracks. If they didn’t want him to return, they were to do nothing, and he would remain on the train as it travelled west.

As the train neared his home town, the suspense became so great he couldn’t bear to look out of his window. He exclaimed, “In just five minutes the engineer will sound the whistle, indicating our approach to the long bend which opens into the valley I know as home. Will you watch for the apple tree at the side of the track?” His companion changed places with him and said he would. The minutes seemed like hours, but then there came the shrill sound of the train whistle. The young man asked, “Can you see the tree? Is there a white ribbon?”

Came the reply: “I see the tree. I see not one white ribbon, but many. There must be a white ribbon on every branch. Son, someone surely does love you.”

Warden Scudder’s friend said afterwards that he felt like he had witnessed a miracle that day. The love and forgiveness extended by the convict’s family gave him the power to change.

The most rewarding role of a leader that I have experienced, is to see the potential in others that often they do not see in themselves – and then bringing it out. This potential is often enabled through the gift of forgiveness. Helping people to let go of their mistakes, to get back up when they stumble and cheering them on as they struggle is a catalyst for mighty change. Understand this – your love is someone else’s power to improve. Withhold it and they can fail. Give it in abundance and they can succeed like never before.

Surprisingly, this is also a principle of responsibility. We often can be cross at others for their failings whilst remaining blind to the fact that our love and our forgiveness can actually empower them to eliminate such weaknesses. Are great leaders simply lucky that they just happened to pick a great team? Or do they make them great? Where does the ownership lie? For me – it is in the hands of the leader. We make people great by loving them abundantly.

My invitation today is to put a white ribbon on every branch of the tree. Empower someone to change by loving them and forgiving them.

(The story of the paroled convict came from The Readers Digest, 1965 and was referenced by Thomas S. Monson here:



In 1944 Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsie were arrested for hiding Jews in their home in the Netherlands. For their crime they were taken to Ravensbruck Concentration Camp. As you might imagine, their experience in such a prison was horrific and continually life threatening. On one occasion Betsie was praying and expressing thanks for everything. Included in her prayer was “thank you for the fleas!” Her sister Corrie was astounded by such comments and afterwards argued such a point was ridiculous. Betsie explained that we should be thankful for everything, not just the pleasant things. Under the circumstances you can only imagine what Betsie was saying would be most difficult to accept. Her point proved to be true however, when the two sisters later discovered that the guards had refused to enter their barracks because they were flea infested. The distance this created between the prisoners and the guards proved to be life saving and significantly improved their quality of life whilst in the camp. Turns out “thank you for the fleas” made sense!

Perhaps, when we are feeling discouraged, downtrodden or weary we can gain strength by fostering a spirit of gratitude. It isn’t easy when we are hurting, but devoting time to this virtue can make a huge difference in providing us with the power to persevere. I promise you that it works. I love the old saying “In patience possess ye your souls.” Gratitude helps us to become patient and patience gives us the power to endure. Endurance ensures a favourable outcome and cheerful endurance is simply a game changer.

I will finish this point with a poem by Johnny Ray Ryder Jr. called ‘The Oak Tree.’ You will see that it can often be the hard times that help us discover just how strong we really are. And that is something we all need to know!

A mighty wind blew night and day
It stole the oak tree’s leaves away
Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark

But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around
The weary wind gave up and spoke.
How can you still be standing Oak?

The oak tree said, I know that you
Can break each branch of mine in two
Carry every leaf away
Shake my limbs, and make me sway

But I have roots stretched in the earth
Growing stronger since my birth
You’ll never touch them, for you see
They are the deepest part of me

Until today, I wasn’t sure
Of just how much I could endure
But now I’ve found, with thanks to you
I’m stronger than I ever knew.



In the children’s classic The Secret Garden by Frances Hodges Burnette, Mrs. Burnette gives us these observations in children’s language:

One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts, just mere thoughts, were as powerful as electric batteries, as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison is. To let a sad thought or a bad thought get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in, you may never get over it so long as you live.

I want to share today 4 critical destroyers of happiness that blight the lives of many people in their pursuit of a more abundant life. They come in the form of thoughts; sown in silence, tended in the darkness of solitude and then brought to fruition in the heavy heat of habit. These thoughts are often our secret captors. They hold us back from becoming better, from feeling better and from doing better. And yet – for many, we are ignorant of their very existence.

Here is a brief introduction to these destroyers of happiness. Let’s see if they sound familiar:

  1. All or Nothing Thinking: “I have to do things perfectly, because anything less than perfect is a failure.”
  2. Disqualifying the Positives: “Life feels like one disappointment after another.” Or “This one mistake ruins everything.”
  3. Negative Self-Labeling: “I feel like a failure. I am flawed. If people knew the real me, they wouldn’t like me.”
  4. Catastrophising: “If something is going to happen, it will probably be the worst case scenario!”

Here are a few more examples of common types of negative thinking:

  • Mind Reading. “I can tell people don’t like me because of the way they behave.”
  • Should Statements. “People should be fair. If I’m nice to them, they should be nice back.”
  • Excessive Need for Approval. “I can only be happy if people like me. If someone is upset, it’s probably my fault.”
  • Disqualifying the Present. “I’ll relax later. But first I have to rush to finish this.”
  • Dwelling on Pain. “If I dwell on why I’m unhappy and think about what went wrong, maybe I’ll feel better.” Alternately, “If I worry enough about my problem, maybe I will feel better.”
  • Pessimism. “Life is a struggle. I don’t think we are meant to be happy. I don’t trust people who are happy. If something good happens in my life, I usually have to pay for it with something bad.”

As I work with people to help them achieve their goals,  I frequently see the symptoms of these toxic thoughts compromising effort and achievement. Critically, this thinking also pollutes our perspective on performance. It becomes a vicious circle that leads downwards in a spiral of despair.

I have learned that to break the cycle of negative thinking, we must first become aware of its presence. We must be willing to challenge the incorrect belief and replace it with a positive affirmation of truth. Consider the consequences of your thought patterns. Where will they lead you over time? Look back to the source of your negative thought. This can help to break its hold on us as it often reveals a broken belief. Offer yourself an alternative approach with a more healthy thought and create an action plan to prepare for situations when you know such thinking will compromise you. Evaluate your experience with the new thought. Do you feel better more more optimistic? Keep trying. Keep trying. Keep trying.

Let’s work today, to think more positively about ourselves. Say something kind and give yourself some encouragement. When you feel inclined to say “you made your bed so you lie in it” remember – every day we can get up and remake our bed!



A couple of years ago I had the wonderful privilege of being a Group Leader for an Addiction Recovery programme provided in my local neighbourhood. I grew to love the people that attended those meetings more than I can possibly begin to express. One particular night a lady showed up for help. Her cheeks were stained with tears, her eyes were red and swollen from crying and her head was sunk deep in her chest with shame and hopelessness. There was a glaze in her eyes that showed me she had been drinking. One of the rules of the group meetings was this – you cannot attend it while you are under the influence. It was my job to send her home.

I sat down and put my arm around her, expressing how pleased I was that she had come. She had shown such bravery and courage and I could see she was suffering profoundly. I told her we loved her, but she needed to go home tonight and let the alcohol get out of her system. I then asked her to make me a promise. “Just promise me that you will come back next week,” I said. She sobbed and shook her head and said she couldn’t make that promise. She desperately wanted to, but couldn’t make that commitment. Why? Because she had made and broken so many commitments in the past that she didn’t even believe in her own ability to turn up to a meeting ten minutes from her home when her life depended on it. She sat there and hopelessly wept on my shoulder. Intense, internalised shame and bitter hopelessness consumed her. What was I to do?

It struck me in that moment, that I had the promise back to front. “You know, I go this all wrong,” I said. “Let me make a promise to you! I want you to know that no matter what – every Wednesday at 7pm we are here for you. Regardless of your decision to turn up – we are here for you.” Interestingly, the following week she came.

I share this because she taught me a powerful lesson about hope. We all need hope – that anticipation of something good – to move forwards in our lives. The lack of it makes life both miserable and depressing. It kills our energy, diminishes our joys and destroys our ambitions. But how do we find hope and how do we develop it and make it stronger? We start with knowing that someone else has hope in us! This lady did not come back because she believed in herself. She didn’t. She came back because she knew we believed in her. When we love someone else, when we show them that we believe in them – we empower them to move forward, to run faster, to not give up. Sometimes it is not a matter of teaching someone to be better. It is about loving someone to be better.

I would invite each who read this blog today, to look at someone you know that is struggling in some way. Look past the behaviour and see the person. Love them, encourage them and help them to believe in themselves. I remember a good friend of mine once saying “It will all work out in the end. And if it isn’t working out – it’s because it’s not the end.”



When my fifteen year old son Ethan was three years old he developed a kidney condition called Nephrotic Syndrome. It meant his kidneys leaked large amounts of protein from the blood into the urine. One of the consequences of this was oedema or excessive swelling. If it wasn’t managed it had the potential to be life threatening. Needless to say, this time in our lives was one of great concern for our little boy. I remember on one particular hospital visit (which was a regular occurrence for us at the time) Ethan needed to be connected to a drip for a prolonged hospital stay and this required putting a needle into his hand. Frustratingly, the doctors and nurses were struggling to get the needle in and poor little Ethan was crying with pain. The doctor asked me as his Dad to hold him down and keep him still so that they could get the needle into his hand. As I wrapped my arms around him and squeezed tightly the doctor made another attempt to get the needle in. Ethan struggled to get free and cried out to me desperately saying “Daddy, they are hurting me! Why aren’t you stopping them?” It broke my heart to hear him crying out for help like that. It killed me to hold him still when he so desperately wanted to break free. It was a day I will never forget. I am pleased to say – the doctors and nurses saved his life and after three years of daily attention he recovered and he is now a healthy young man.

Why did I not answer my three year olds cry for help as he wished? Especially when I could. Because I knew that a little bit of pain now, would inoculate him against a lot of pain later. I knew that some suffering today would bring increased happiness in our future tomorrows. There is an old proverb which says “Weeping may endure for a moment, but joy cometh in the morning”. This is relevant for understanding happiness because too often when things get hard people quit. They throw in the towel and give up. Yet this is the very time when we need to stand strong and not bend. Is it hard to do? Of course. But hard doesn’t mean wrong. I have learned that struggling for a good cause instead of buckling breeds resilience in my character. I have learned that persistence in noble purpose breeds patience. Hard work breeds satisfaction and timely, loving reproof breeds improvement. Nothing great is achieved without toil and this is true of happiness. Great happiness can never be found without there being suffering on the journey to achieve it.

I know that in life we will all get acquainted with trials and difficulty. They say that “time heals all wounds” but there is also truth in the statement that “time wounds all heels.” In our pursuit of happiness, we must not believe that all pain is bad. Nor should we try to turn away from it when it confronts us. Whilst it is not what we want to feel, some pain is necessary for growth and development.

I have learned that the continued struggle for a noble goal increases our desire for its achievement. Many people want good things, but they don’t want them bad enough. They are not prepared to struggle, to sacrifice, to suffer some inconvenience for what they seek. Consequently, they don’t achieve success and the excuses come that “it doesn’t work” or “it’s too hard” or “I didn’t want it anyway!” In such moments as these, people surrender themselves to the warm waters of mediocrity. Such waters are well occupied and people gain false assurance that the large numbers they have surrounded themselves with confirm their choice is right. How wrong they are! To be great; to be our best, we do not swim downstream with the crowd. We go the other way! We fight and we strive. We get knocked down and we get back up. We persist and we carry on! And when we do – we enjoy what others don’t – Victory! And this offers greater happiness and real balance in a way that those in warm water can never imagine and will never appreciate.

So my invitation today is – as we strive for balance and greater happiness, prepare for and be willing to accept a degree of pain in your journey. Not all pain is bad and true greatness requires us to shoulder our portion of it. Remember, our willingness to embrace pain is paradoxically a core ingredient in our happiness and when accepted will lead to the achievement of our full potential.



I think I hold a unique perspective. I have run my own businesses, worked for multi-billion dollar MLM’s, sat on industry Council’s and jumped into the field to be hands on. I have even sat with forensic accountants who have been tasked with gathering evidence to use in court to shut the company down I was General Manager of at the time. That wasn’t too much fun!

I have also been involved in start-ups, mature businesses, expanding companies and declining organisations. I think I have seen quite a bit. Why do I share this? Because I have noticed a common theme across each of these businesses. There is a company life-cycle that is experienced in Network Marketing and different messages, approaches and strategies apply at different times and seasons. ‘Well that’s obvious!’ you might say. But actually – it isn’t. How many times have you heard ‘we should take this approach because it worked for me back in 1996!’ I have heard that plenty.

Here’s the deal: In the start up phase, most MLMs will thrive based upon what I call ‘hysteria marketing’. It is the hype that comes with a new opportunity. ‘Get in quick and ride the wave,’ or ‘join the ground floor opportunity,’ are messages many have heard or shared in this industry. But if the opportunity was so awesome – why would there only be one wave? And what about the guys that joined after it passed? Are they buying into a dud? A fallacy? The challenge is, that wave is often created by this hysteria marketing approach. The strategy is pretty simple: Recruit a lot of people and have them purchase high volumes of packs and get others to do the same. With all the excitement – that can work a treat. Regulators hate it though and once the few at the top have scored big time – it starts to wane. Expecting this plan to work forever is like me cracking a joke and expecting you to laugh for the rest of the year. It simply doesn’t work that way.

So how does the mature business move forward? It has to be based upon the principles of balance. It is very difficult to create the hysteria that newness brings when you are in a mature organisation. More practical approaches need to be applied. Those that grow and get to the top in these situations know how they did it. There was no luck, no good timing, just a great plan and some real focused work. Many people will try to create incredible excitement to develop a recruiting frenzy. I heard it said once at a World Federation DSA event that ‘if you want sales to go up – recruit more people!’ But what if everyone in your team got more customers?  Customers should be easier to find. What if your business went from the vast majority self consuming to the vast majority sharing product with customers?  What would happen to your volume? What would happen to the rank and file (the 80% of every organisation) that do just 5-10 hours a week? If their checks went up, what should happen to yours? If more volume is coming through in a sustained way (through genuine customer activity), then your residual income becomes more stable, more reliable, more consistent and more rewarding.

Can you look at your business and see the direct link with growth and recruitment? Recruitment goes up – so does your business. Recruitment goes down – so does your business. For a mature business, the starting point for getting your business back up is not always found in recruitment. It is often found at a more basic level – get more customers.

I believe that if we get the balance right in our business – get customers and find business partners who get customers – we will change the experience of millions of people in our industry for the better.



We all know that effective accountability breeds stronger performance, so why is it that so many people are resistant to being held accountable? One reason, I believe, is what is termed ‘the accountability fallacy.’

The fallacy is the belief that when expectations go unmet and someone has failed to deliver, it is because something is wrong with them ( click here for more details). It reaches further into the assumption that not only is the person flawed, but often there is little one can do to change it, other than through punishment. Consequently, when we think of the word ‘accountability’ we often jump to the conclusion that it involves criticism, review of failure, disappointment, vulnerability, exposure to weakness and ensuing consequences. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth – if it is done correctly!

Etymologically speaking, the word ‘account‘ is borrowed from the French language and means ‘to render a reckoning; to answer for, to explain or justify.’ However, an important part of this interpretation comes from the Middle French word ‘acompter‘ which includes the definition ‘to include, to value, to consider important.’ When we are held accountable or holding someone accountable, we must make room for the consideration of all important activities and review all the good that is done and not just focus on the deficit.

If my bank only every gave me a bank statement when I was overdrawn and never highlighted the deposits, the interest or the savings – I would feel very uncomfortable. That is one account that I want a full rendering off!

My invitation therefore is simple. Whether we are holding ourselves accountable or holding someone else accountable – let’s focus in a balanced way in revealing the good in others and ourselves. Begin with the assumption that we/they have done the best possible. Let people begin with an ‘A’ and move forward from there. Everyone has a mixture of both strengths and weaknesses. A balanced perspective on both and a healthy dose of validation for the good goes a long way at improving performance.



Winston Churchill once said “You have enemies? Good! It means you stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

In order to disrupt an industry, to create change or to achieve what others haven’t – we must be willing to think differently, get blasted for challenging the status quo, and swim upstream.

Albert Einstein also added on this subject when he said “Great spirits always encounter fierce opposition from mediocre minds.”

Watch this video below from Randy Gage who takes just seven minutes to discuss why having critics is a key indicator that you are in fact doing something right!