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You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself. – Galileo

If you open your eyes in the morning and you are still breathing, then you are alive.  Every thing else is a bonus.

Part of my training as an Infantry Officer required me to go to Ranger School, which is primarily a leadership school for combat soldiers who want to join the Army’s elite light infantry fighting forces known as the Rangers.

When I went through Ranger School, it was a 68-day course.  There was the Benning Phase, The Mountain Phase, The Desert Phase and the Jungle Phase.  Ranger courses run all year long, I drew the unfortunate short straw of having to attend during the winter months.  I have never been so cold in my life (well except maybe the time I nearly froze to death in a snow storm when I was 14).

One morning we were huddle together like seals trying to stay warm.  We had on our Gortex winter jackets and we were still cold.  One of our Ranger instructors came strutting out of his command post and yelled,  “Take those Gortex jackets off men.  It ain’t cold out here.  It’s 80 degrees out!  Cold is a state of mind.”

We groaned and shuffled and did as we were told.   Watching us shiver from the cold, our Ranger instructor said with a big old grin on his face, “Men if you make it through Ranger School, for the rest of your life, every day will be a holiday and every meal a feast.”

He wasn’t wrong.

Life is a mental game, and the quality of the game is determined by how you perceive the game in your mind.  If your perception is that life is hard, then you will attract the conditions in your life to make it hard.  Our Colonel told us, before sending us off to Ranger School, that “nothing is as hard as it seems, but if you think it’s hard, it’ll be harder than it actually is.”

To play the game of life well, you must first play a good game in your head.

What’s your mental game like?


Here at MH Towers we have a crack team of professionals to help you get that perfect job and soon you will be able to lavish yourself with video guides and online help in the form of our suite of career management tools.

If however your job interview is tomorrow you should head on over to Lifehacker where they have some simple top tips to prepare for the big day.

Do you find yourself slipping into an obscure job role?  Does your opinion just seem insignificant when offered?

We often get complacent in our jobs, it is human nature after all to get your feet under the table and get comfy.

If you want to be less of a passenger and climb into the spotlight here are 10 tips to put you on the right track.

  1. Increase your visibility.  Make a concerted effort to visit others in your office.  Use the first coffee in the morning productively and take it on a tour of the office everyday.  By doing this you can see what others are working on, see where you can offer help and just simply have a chat about stuff.  It doesn’t have to be the first coffee and you don’t need an excuse to walk around.
  2. Dress the part.  Getting noticed can be as simple as adjusting the way we dress.  This can have both a negative impact and a positive one.  Think for a minute about your office.  Who is the scruffiest?  Who is the smartest?  Does it have an impact on their role and how it is perceived?  Do you go to the scruffy person for creativity and the sharp one for marketing?  More on this here.
  3. Give your reputation a kick.  Your name needs to be seen and heard.  Try to start putting your name to more stuff.  Does your company have a blog or a forum?  If so start posting regularly.  If your company is large enough to have an internal publication start offering stories for it.  Get in touch with marketing and offer some hot stories for external press releases.
  4. Step up to the plate.  If an opportunity is offered and you have the ability to get the job done then raise your hand high.
  5. Learn to learn.  The world is in information overload, if you don’t know how to do something it is now as easy as opening up a new browser window on your computer and searching for the answer.  We should all be striving to learn something new every day no matter how small or big it is.  The opportunity is there.
  6. Keep in tune with the world at large.  Know exactly what your company’s competitors are doing. Are you reading the right blogs? Do some market research. What opportunities are out there? Is there a gap that could be filled? When an opinion is asked for you may be just the person to supply the answer.
  7. Show respect of others.  If somebody is doing a good job tell them. Also mention this to people higher up the chain.  Being fair and showing you care is a great way to set an example.
  8. Be a mentor. Don’t be selfish with your own knowledge.  Sharing is a great way to be noticed. Sharing regularly with the same people may not have immediate benefits but in the long-term you will reap the rewards and so will they.
  9. Find your niche.  What are you really good at?  Find out and make yourself the expert on the subject. Become the “go to” person in the office for that particular thing.
  10. There is no try only do. Just like Yoda said in his syntax error filled Jedi speak, there is no 2nd best. It’s no good moaning to your colleagues about not being noticed unless you are prepared to work hard at your job and be the absolute best you can be.

Next week is the biggest filming challenge yet for the Marton House film crew as we are off to climb a mountain, Snowdon to be exact.  With The Platform being at the pinnacle of sales training it only seems right to go that extra mile in order to film something that little bit different.

Obviously sending a bunch of wheezing film makers to climb a mountain by themselves would quite possibly end in disaster, luckily however our interview subject, Clay Lowe is a highly experienced mountaineer and he has vowed to keep us from doing silly things – like for example dangling myself over a ledge to get that perfect shot!

If you haven’t visited Clay’s blog before I heartily recommend you do so as it’s a haven for new thinking, and you know how we like new thinking around here.

Which brings me nicely to this extract from Clay’s new book that he has kindly sent us, which challenges the way we think.

I think walking up a big hill with a full camera kit on your back is challenging enough without having to think about it too 🙂


Everybody knows the world is flat

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. . . . There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.  Alan Cohen

I enjoy challenging my clients to question their thinking.  We are so skilled at our thinking that we don’t think about our thinking.  We accept the thoughts we have as gospel and do not challenge the perceptions that drive them.  We think we know that when “x” happens, the only consequence or answer is always and only “z” because we have already had that experience.  We collapse the wave of other possibilities without first examining them to see what other outcomes are possible.  Here are some famous examples of collapsing the wave of possibilities:

•    This `telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a practical form of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us. – Western Union internal memo, 1878

•    Well informed people know it is impossible to transmit the voice over wires and that were it possible to do so, the thing would be of no practical value. – Editorial in the Boston Post (1865)

•    [Television] won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night. – Darryl F. Zanuck, head of 20th Century-Fox, 1946.

•    A new source of power… called gasoline has been produced by a Boston engineer. Instead of burning the fuel under a boiler, it is exploded inside the cylinder of an engine. The dangers are obvious. Stores of gasoline in the hands of people interested primarily in profit would constitute a fire and explosive hazard of the first rank. Horseless carriages propelled by gasoline might attain speeds of 14 or even 20 miles per hour. The menace to our people of vehicles of this type hurtling through our streets and along our roads and poisoning the atmosphere would call for prompt legislative action even if the military and economic implications were not so overwhelming… the cost of producing gasoline is far beyond the financial capacity of private industry… In addition the development of this new power may displace the use of horses, which would wreck our agriculture. – U. S. Congressional Record, 1875

•    …no possible combination of known substances, known forms of machinery, and known forms of force, can be united in a practical machine by which man shall fly long distances through the air… – Simon Newcomb (1835-1909), astronomer, head of the U. S. Naval Observatory

•    Computers in the future may…perhaps only weigh 1.5 tons. – Popular Mechanics, 1949.

•    There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home. – Kenneth Olsen, president and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

Where would be if no one had challenged the thinking of these men? The next time you find yourself deciding an outcome based on past experiences or perceptions, ask yourself instead:

What are the possibilities?

Ben EltonPicture the scene; You are stood at the lectern, speaking clearly and concisely, confident in your material when suddenly you catch somebody frowning at you from the audience. Then you see another person with their arms crossed. Then another whispering to their neighbour. Then another leaving the room.

Suddenly you ask yourself what is going wrong? A whiny little voice creeping forwards from the back of your mind saying things like “You’re losing them…”, and “Stop sending them to sleep”, and “Get off the stage now before they start throwing rotten fruit at you…”.

As Ben Elton used to say this is Captain Paranoia sitting on your shoulder, that inner voice which we all struggle to silence.

The fact is a small fraction of the audience will not be satisfied whatever you do.

So what can you do about Captain Paranoia? Firstly you have got to stop living in your head, the more you listen to your inner voice the more nervous and less confident you’ll feel.

Don’t think about it, change it! The first sign you see of your inner voice creeping forwards, start to raise your game. Give your performance an energy injection, both in the tone of your voice and in your body. Liven things up a little.

The more your attention is occupied by your performance the less you’ll notice the stiffs in the audience disappearing to the toilet.

The bigger your performance the better you’ll feel when you walk off stage with your head held high.

Here is a new video from one of our trainers at Marton House – Clay Lowe. Clay runs his own adventure coaching company called Ascent. This video is about their philosophy and thoughts – can a physical journey influence your own emotional journey?

Ever thought about hiring a life coach?  Maybe you should check out this video first.

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