Laughter the key to Success?

Enjoying life is just as important as success. 

Why do I say that? 

Because through truly living we redefine ourselves and our goals and find out what really matters. I cover this subject so often with business owners who have lost their way, or individuals in employment who are fed up of the daily grind who want to start something new for themselves. Indeed in my VISION series of workshops we look at the business owner before we even consider the business; checking if life really is delivering.  


You may ask why as a very practical business advisor; I cover a holistic subject such as understanding your WHY?   

It is because we are WHOLE people and in my years of experience, I recognise the need to acknowledge that we are not just our businesses, or even our ideas and skills but we are additionally our motivation and passion for life.  

Prior to being a business advisor, I was a career coach supporting people at crossroads to unpick their career direction. It became apparent delivering this discipline that motivation and passion were the magic ingredients to increased success. Therefore, in qualifying as a business advisor I combined this knowledge to such effect that the businesses I supported became successful too. If self-beliefself-esteem, motivation and passion are the key to ascending a career ladder, this can also be true for entrepreneurs. It is from this core where creativity and those light bulb moments are ignited, but they can only surface once the more basic needs for food, security, love and self-esteem are satisfied.  

During times of increased stress and uncertainty we become serious about life and business which can overshadow our thought patterns, affect our ability and cloud our vision, to the point where we are in danger of forgetting ourselves, our zest for life, our deep need to laugh, have fun and enjoy our families and work.   

Maslow’s studies on happiness and health were essentially addressing our need to feel happy, secure, valued and confident. Indeed, Abraham Maslow was one of the earliest psychologists to focus attention on happy individuals and monitor their success, identifying the respected “hierarchy of needs” as a tool to support this theory. Through readjusting our lives, we have the capacity for great happiness. A chemical reaction happens when we allow ourselves to be happy; we become our best and brightest selves and therefore more effective, with the resulting outcome of driving our businesses forward through positive leadership.  

When we laugh, endorphins are released from the pituitary gland into the blood and then into the brain and into the spine. When laughing, the dopamine chemical is released in the brain and then is sent as a signal to other nerves in the body. This results in happier and brighter people with infinitely more creative ability, increased energy levels and success.  

So, if laughter is our greatest healer and connection is our biggest motivator, why not do more of it?  

I am not undermining your situation if you are undergoing health treatment, dealing with bereavement or indeed feeling overwhelmed and stressedIndeed, I have felt blocked, despondent and lethargic, juggling a chaotic life with running a business. Some of my clients have reported emotions such as exasperation, anger, desperation and also fear. But maybe NOW is the moment to take some ‘time out’ to get away from the blockages, have a break and focus on enjoying life. Go to the beach, have a walk, ring friends, lessen responsibilities and watch the serotonin levels replenish and your positive perspective return. If you are feeling uncertain and unhappy then this is definitely not the time to make key decisions but instead, perhaps take the time to create a positive oasis and even learn to laugh again. 

Laughter, smiling and fun are all positive sensations, the body’s natural healthy way to overcome stress; in fact, laughter can alter dopamine and serotonin activity. Furthermore, endorphins secreted by laughter can help us feel good again and help when we are uncomfortable or feeling depressed. 

 If this article is resonating with you then my challenge to you is to undertake this activity. 

Identify three things that you can do this week to: 

1) Relax 

2) Do something good for you (only YOU) and importantly  

3) Have fun 

 Go on, take the pressure off and ‘Let go’. 

 I have never taken myself too seriously and as a result in most of my senior management roles both the staff and customers loved my energy, bought into my zest for life and in every role the businesses I managed were successful. Why? Because we all need a little fun in life. That is why I refuse to become boring and predictable now, injecting creativity and fun into my business courses, for we always learn so much better when we are happy.   

Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t we meant to have fun and enjoy our life?  

Life might indeed be serious and stressful at the moment but now more than ever you deserve to let your hair down, to find the happiness and laughter around you and not worry about what people think. Numerous studies have shown that the healthiest, happiest people tend to be more involved in their communities, therefore there is some sense to be found in growing wider social connections and relationships as they will inspire you and are an important part of creating your ‘happy’. Being part of a community often sustains people through the most difficult of times, so perhaps find NEW ways of connecting through: Networking, Skype and even social interaction in order to find the fun again. Even during this terrible pandemic, you might be surprised by the spark and latent creative flame, if you let go and choose to have some fun. Look at doing little things that make you smile and can create memories for yourself, your loved ones, your employees and all the people around you that you care about. 

Enjoying life is the means to success. Redefine your goals, smile and find out what really matters.  

Keeping on track; Juggling priorities

Whether we like it or not we have demands on our time. whether it’s children, a pending marriage, divorce, bereavement, moving house or caring for elderly family. We might experience ill health, going on holiday, celebrating christmas, and the challenges of childcare. Add to this the concerns of staffing, turnover, suppliers, customers, directors or business partners and life becomes much more complex, indeed a juggling act.

Yet as busy business owners how do we step back and take control in order to keep our business on-track?

I know part of my journey has been to
‘Let-go’, trust the process and ONLY do what ONLY I can do. I choose to empower my staff and to trust in the business refinement process. For EVERY perceived obstacle there has been an opportunity to jump over it or smash through it, to GROW, EVOLVE and meet new people with new ideas for change.

Sticky notes on an office wall

Only 2 weeks ago i wrote a list of all the things holding ME back from growing both personally and in my business and surrendered it.

Yes, I was tested last week as to whether I truly meant it but it’s certainly made me focussed this week to be the business CHANGE FACILITATOR that I am; to empower clients to be true and authentic and to be bold in believing that anything is possible.

I have regularly held my client’s hands as they push through from some dark places, to see the magic happen.

Noone is immune from the challenge of real life trying to thwart them when the business is calling for TOTAL dedication.

Whether pushing through personal challenges or business challenges the fight to push through and keep going is where the magic happens, where you become more creative, more refined, and find ways of working smarter, we call these ‘lightbulb moments’…

I can testify to this principle and KNOW that so do many of my clients. The difference between being JUST a business owner and the person who is a game changer, a disruptor and an entrepreneur is your resolve and the belief to take advice, buckle in for the ride, be unafraid of change and allow your business to flourish.

If you want the opportunity to grow in the midst of chaos, i know that we can work through this together so do get in touch.

Let It Go

One of the biggest lessons I have learned this month has been that of ‘Letting go’. Ironically with Frozen 2 out now, in our cinemas, it is a lesson not just for our children; we too have to be reminded to ‘let-go’ as adults.

As a woman defined by her to-do-lists, schedules, prompts and planning, to be thwarted by outside influences has been frustrating. I am member of and attend many wonderful networks

Notably I won the title: Networker of the year in 2018/19. Therefore being unable to attend so may groups has been a bitter pill to swallow; with breakfast clubs cancelled at my son’s school and client appointments clashing, I have had to take a step back and reassess what lesson I need to learn and how to operate differently.

Change can be scary and letting go of successful methods of promoting a business can be equally daunting. My natural default is to ‘try’ and make this happen, but what if change is afoot, maybe I need to’ let go’ to make way for something better.

D52 Business Toolkit

As people we are inclined to stick with what we know best and not venture out of our comfort zone, we perhaps rely on word of mouth, our current network, a referral partner or a specific publication and rest on our laurels when we could be trying new ways of working, joining new groups or trying new approaches to promote our business.

Google and Facebook have it right when they encourage us to engage with our audiences and post new and exciting content on our websites and pages. But in the ‘bricks & mortar’ world we are sometimes negligent about ‘refreshing’ our message, our approach or our content; indeed we in danger of reaching stalemate as our sphere of influence actually reduces and our excitement and enthusiasm wanes.

If you have never tried networking may I advocate that this may be the very change you need for your business. If you have never sought advice, maybe now is the time to seek that strategic advice, and if the universe is seemingly stripping your business back, be prepared for the new and exciting opportunities which are awaiting you, as the universe does have your back, and business is ‘out there’ for the taking.

Think for a moment; perhaps you are not in the right physical or virtual place to attract your ideal customers and NOW is your opportunity to change things.


Picture courtesy of Margaret Preuss Higham Photography

Coercion – Misuse of Power

Laterly there has been an abiding theme emanating from the contacts I make, the clients I speak to and the work I am doing on the subject of coercion and control.

Whilst last month the UK held anti-bullying week, we very often associate this with children or employees, but what if you are a director or a manager? Perhaps you are a board member or holding some other position of power.

Coercion is all about the lack of respect for others, the insistence on being right or riding rough-shod over others. For those victims to this behaviour, the overwhelming sense of fear surrounding decision making and consequences can render even a high level professional to show caution.

Coercion can change the ethos of an organisation and create an unhealthy work environment, constant absenteeism and develop a culture where directors, managers and staff are concerned to be autonomous, take calculated risks and engage growth activities for fear of reprisals. When any business allows coercion to remain unchecked, employees, associates and colleagues may become demoralised and the organisation may find it difficult to use its human resources effectively. Individuals at all levels may learn to work with the difficult situations and may try to adapt, constantly causing undue distress and consequentially thwarting any creativity or problem-solving activity.

Signs you may need to look at your business and address internal coercive behaviour at all levels from board level through to employee are:

  • Micro – management
  • Effective leaders being stripped of responsibilities or being moved from a department for no apparent reason
  • Managers feeling threatened by challenge and silencing criticism or transparency
  • Distortion of the truth to remove a member of staff or protect another
  • Unfounded accusations
  • Threats to demote or ‘let go’
  • Overly charming senior managers
  • Directors exuding uncharacteristically about someone and promoting them beyond their level of expertise
  • Disrespect especially in front of others, name calling, belittling or undermining

Sadly, I have listened to senior managers and directors saying:

The good news is that business coaching delivered by an empathetic advisor mixed with sound business advice and principles can help you to navigate the right path.

At D52 we understand that when you feel alone with nowhere to turn, we can be your support, offering confidential advice to help you work through your options and create a sound plan of action. We listen, guide, support understand and keep you on track, even holding your hand when the going gets tough.

The decision is yours; every goal your reach begins with the decision to start, and in this case, the goals you reach begin with the decision to stop the cycle and create a brighter future.

For more information on the support available do email for a FREE confidential discussion


Operational efficiency

Many business owners concentrate on marketing above all else, understandably because cash flow is intrinsically linked to it, however this is often to the detriment of other areas in the business. Every business needs to focus on keeping balance in the business to ensure that the foundations don’t topple

One of the least exciting but critical areas are the processes behind a business because not only are they tied to legal requirements but they can be the very thing which can bankrupt a business overnight. Processes also ensure a business is efficient and optimising sales, production, manufacture etc.

The’ smooth running of a business must be carefully worked out in order to determine what is needed to accomplish a goal, so it is important to fully understand the critical processes in order to assign tasks to individuals whose job description align with the outputs required. Job roles need to be suitable to the position each individual holds and this ideally needs to be arranged in a decision‐making framework (organizational structure).

Why else is a business process important you may ask? Because it unifies the series of steps performed by a group of employees to achieve a goal and ensures continuity, quality and accountability. It is particularly important in businesses where steps are often repeated many times, sometimes by multiple users, in order to standardize and optimize efficiency.

A business process can often be created as a visualize representation as a flowchart or workflow of logical steps.

If you have NEVER had a business diagnostic consider its importance, as this is just one of four areas undertaken in a review.

Are You Ephemeral?

You awake in the middle of the night with a brilliant idea, it consumes your thoughts and you have to start writing them down. The next thing you realise is that 4hrs have disappeared and it’s morning. The idea starts to gain momentum, world domination seems possible, ultimate wealth beckons and the idea starts to consume you day and night.

It is everything you have ever wanted.

Everyone you meet knows about your idea, you buy a domain name, rebrand yourself and launch this new concept. For 3-4 months you stay focused, until you watch a TV programme about something else, or are in conversation with a colleague about their business. Suddenly a new thought emerges, and you start to question your original plan.

A new concept is born and you can’t get to sleep, you toss and turn and awake in the middle of the night as it consumes your thoughts; you have to start writing them down. You now drop the original idea and move on to something else! You are surprised that your original idea felt so right but you can drop it so easily.

If this describes you, you are possibly ephemeral: attracted to short lived activities, almost as if existing for only one day.

Shiny ball syndrome is the name commonly given to this phenomenon whereby individuals constantly change their goals or focus every time they see a new “shiny ball” of potential. Be honest is this you?

Shiny ball syndrome, can often elicit amazing ideas but can also have a downside that it may not necessarily be something better… and more likely, could be a sign that you were never really committed to the original goal or haven’t even really spent the time to identify what you really want. Reader if this is you, it’s ok, yes you suffer from being Ephemeral, but help is at hand.

So often, being ephemeral occurs as a result of chasing quick solutions, get rich quick schemes and not dealing with what truly inspires you and/or finding your ‘why’. This lack of conviction about an idea in order to see it through, creates uncertainty, and the belief that you haven’t found the magic formula, thus making you prone to look for another solution. A savvy entrepreneur will check viability of their best idea and lay to rest their creative brain through one of many strategies, either a note book or an ideas box, and of course, accountability.

If you find yourself constantly changing your goals and direction, be very careful not to make it a lifelong habit. You could fool yourself into thinking you are inspired, motivated and goal-driven, when in fact you are just chasing your tail, making a lot of noise and going nowhere.

If you don’t build strong walls of commitment, you are likely to shoot off course as soon as you find another project that appeals to you.

Those who are susceptible to shiny ball syndrome should be especially careful not to adopt other people’s goals. If you don’t have a personal dream, sure as hell, someone else does, and you will be susceptible to all types of schemes.

I know from experience that if you are wavering because your ‘why’ is about getting rich quickly, someone will recruit you to build their dream, often a tactic seen in network marketing. Of course if getting rich or having a residual income is your ‘why’ then network marketing is an ideal solution; but if you do still have a passion for something else inside you then be warned you energy will be exhausted recruiting for distributors and your original dream will not have the time or resources to come to fruition.

Sometimes we see someone who is succeeding in a certain area of their life, and we decide that we’d like some of what they have! Your own goals then fall by the wayside as you alter your course towards someone else’s. You live their dream, not yours. You build their empire not yours. You could then spend years of your life chasing a shiny ball that was never even yours to begin with. The worst case scenario is if you actually succeed, because when you arrive, you will most likely realize that it was never what you wanted anyway, and you’ll have to start all over again.

You may be successful in achieving the goal, but if it’s not what you really want, you will never be truly fulfilled. I see this happen all the time.

“Success without fulfillment is failure” – Anthony Robbins

Today there are more opportunities and options than ever before. Every day new products, services, food, ideas, programs, books, courses, jobs, careers, and education are being marketed to you through the internet, television, radio, newspapers, billboards, and posters. Advertisers and salesmen are becoming extremely efficient at grabbing your attention and planting a seed in your mind on how to do less and earn more. Although the options are forever growing, one thing remains constant – you can’t do everything.

If you don’t stand up for your own goals and dreams, you will be swept away and distracted by the never-ending field of shiny balls being dangled in front of your face each day.D52 Supporting Entrepreneurs

So my suggestion, if this rings true, is to find what you love, what you’re good at, even if it isn’t the ‘get-rich-quick’ route and commit to making the idea viable.

Today we live in a society which idealizes self- employment, but this is the hardest route, as it requires commitment to ONE idea above all else and the ‘project’ has to wait until the first idea has been made viable.

So if you struggle with being ephemeral, maybe finding a creative employed route would enable you to follow as many shiny balls as you like in your ‘down-time’.

As a business advisor I am totally supportive of entrepreneurialism but would add that you need a strong business advisor to keep you on track if you do suffer from following transient projects.

I give my clients a Shiny Ball box™, a bit like Pandora’s box, which can only be opened when one idea has become viable.

To conclude: The greatest and best ideas come from creative and often ephemeral individuals, who are constantly finding solutions and seeing niche markets, but do take the time to decide on one workable course of action before moving on to something new. Being an entrepreneur is a blessing, so use your time wisely.

Word of Caution: If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything



BREXIT or Drought?

So Why have I entitled this article BREXIT or drought? You may ask!

With the increasing focus on the effects of Brexit we must not confuse the increasing food prices JUST on Brexit; despite the inevitable increases due to import tax prices are set to rise not because of Brexit but despite BREXIT due to the Summer drought.

This year saw the driest June on record comparable with 1976 with Southern England having just six per cent of the expected rainfall and Dorset (where I live) just 2mm, according to the Met Office. Having lived and worked in Lincolnshire and now Dorset I have many friends and family in agriculture for whom this summer has brought about sufficient hardship. Whilst 1976 did see more severe conditions than now, this has nonetheless been a really tough year for all types of farmer but particularly livestock farmers. The lack of rain has made it difficult to grow and harvest both grass used for animal feed and crops for human consumption and the summer drought-like conditions are now putting pressure on both diary and arable farmers.

It is inevitable therefore this winter, that we will see a hike in prices as supermarkets contend with a shorter supply of food such as bread, potatoes and onions.

‘As a broad generalisation, volumes of crops harvested will be down and for the majority of crops costs will be up. ‘(Jack Ward, chief executive of the British Growers Association)

The drought has affected the whole of Europe! This is not just a British problem.

Image result for drought

“Many German growers could go bankrupt if they suffer another crop failure, and too much rain in France is set to reduce output there. All combined, it’s shaping up to be Europe’s smallest grain harvest in six years. The damage to agriculture prompted Lithuania and Latvia to declare a national natural disaster and Germany was forced to import feed wheat from as far away as Romania.” (Bloomberg -July 2018)

The effect of Brexit? I think not, the effect of global warming? more likely.

In the period between March and July this year onion prices jumped up by 41 percent, while carrots rose by 80 percent and wheat for bread rose by a fifth.

So is it all doom & gloom? And what can we do?

  • Be realistic about the effects of Brexit
  • Support local growers and farmers by continuing to buy British
  • Be aware of the lack of produce availability in supermarkets and support local retailers
  • Buy what we need and don’t panic buy
  • Rethink food choices; returning to seasonal vegetables and creating menus from the produce which is readily available.
  • Ultimately, consider our green footprint

Whilst, we are not in ‘post war rationing Britain’ , we do need to rethink our obsession with a year round food supply not only from an environmental perspective but a commercial one. Perhaps if we altered our eating habits to reflect availability, behaving much as we did in 1976 (minus the flares and bad haircuts) the produce which is available would not be ploughed back into the soil, farmers would get a living wage and we could ‘do our bit’ for our local communities but additionally the wider global stage.

And there is some good news too. The extended sunny weather has produced a bumper yield of grapes and our vineyards will be producing more wine than ever this year. So whatever happens with Brexit, we can be assured that we will at least be able to drink a few glasses of wine in 2019. Cause enough to smile and embrace that good old British resolve and make the best of every situation.