Archive for category Business

Effectiveness = Motivation x Confidence x Competence x Curiosity (Mindfulness in Business Meetings)

QG2 Book Cover 01Extract from Quick Guide II: How to Spot, Mimic and Become a Top Salesperson

Most sales training I’ve come across focuses primarily on developing a salesperson’s skills or competencies, for example: opening, qualifying, questioning, advocating, presenting, negotiating and closing. The intention is that, over time with experience, the salesperson will get better and better at demonstrating these skills. It follows logically that they’ll become more confident in their sales approach and thus hopefully more motivated.

I haven’t seen much in the way of material that focuses on engendering an ongoing sense of curiosity, for example, how can I be the best, if not better, at what I sell?

The E=MC3 equation implies that an individual’s effectiveness is three parts mental and emotional (motivation, competence and curiosity) to one part intellectual (competence).

Let’s take a first pass at each of the qualities: motivation, confidence, competence and curiosity.

Motivation

Most salespeople are motivated to win, especially when the selling is relatively easy. Likewise, most are motivated by earnings and win bonuses. Some are motivated by advancing their career.

What motivates top salespeople? The answers from my research fall into three categories:

1. “To be the best I can be” or “…recognised as the best salesperson there is” – not only the best in terms of results but the best at selling too (outcomes + journey).

2. “To deliver customer value above and beyond that expected.”

3. “To create a legacy so that I am renowned for the value I bring to customers and my organisation’s business.”

In all three categories, the top performers are motivated by being (and being seen as) excellent. ‘Moderates’ talk of winning and earnings but talk less of personal excellence.

Confidence

I worked with a 26 year old CEO of a recruitment firm who had a good reputation for hiring confident as opposed to arrogant people. I was asked to model how he went about the task. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: “How do you differentiate between a confident person and an arrogant one?”

CEO: “Well, I’m not sure; I just get a ‘feeling’.”

Me: “Describe that ‘feeling’.”

CEO: “Well you just sort of know, don’t you? It’s something you sense….. a gut feeling.”

Me: “Okay, imagine you have an arrogant person to your left and a confident to your right. What’s the difference between them?”

CEO: “The confident person asks questions; the arrogant person doesn’t. The confident person probes for where they feel they’ll bring value to the organisation. They look to find out if they will enjoy the role. They seek opportunities for themselves to grow in the role. The arrogant person takes a position that they have the knowledge and wisdom suitable for the job and makes no effort to see how well they’ll fit in.”

Top salespeople exude confidence by the quality of questions they ask as well as the articulacy by which they convey reassurance. (For a framework with which to construct quality sales questions, refer to the INCREASETM model in Number 1 of this series of business guides, Quick Guide – How Top Salespeople Sell.)

Competence

If you stacked all the sales training and development materials in the world on top of one another, you’d probably build a mountain higher than Mount Everest. So I’ll attempt to put a different slant on competence by giving you a customer’s perspective. (For completeness, Appendix 1 lists the skills and knowledge demonstrated by top salespeople at, and away from, the customer interface.)

A corporate salesperson spends, on average, 15% of their time speaking directly to a customer. Ergo, 85% of the time, they apply their skills and knowledge to researching, developing and planning; how to be more effective during the ‘15%’ customer interface window when the occasion arises.

Top performers prepare themselves, intellectually and psychologically, to be at their peak when speaking to the customer. They develop appropriate skills and knowledge (the intellectual exchange) and they also prepare themselves to be in the right frame of mind and body (the mental and emotional exchange) with the customer.

Being perceived as ‘competent’ by the customer requires you to be:

1. Prepared: with insightful questions to ask and have answers to potential customer questions, including facts, data and logic so that your proposals are visionary, ‘grounded in reality’ and hopefully compelling

2. Clear about the outcomes: What do you want to achieve in the meeting both in terms of the task-in-hand and your relationship with the customer (e.g. engender trust). It’s also being very clear about the outcomes the customer might want to achieve, in terms of their task-in-hand and from their relationship with a supplier like you.

Illustration: 4 Outcomes to a Meeting

Outcomes hires croppedMost of us prepare ‘box 1’ before a meeting. Many ‘moderates’ omit boxes 2 and 3 above from their preparatory work. Most salespeople miss out box 4 altogether – often because of a lack of self-belief and sometimes unconsciously. They don’t visualise themselves in a picture working closely with the customer.

3. In the right frame of mind: If you were to prioritise the three factors: Prepared, Clear Outcomes and Frame of Mind – which order would you place them?

Exercise: Allocate three weighting percentages (that add up to 100%) against Prepared, Clear Outcomes and Frame of Mind respectively – in terms of how important they are to being successful during (not before) a meeting.

Research shows…

The most important thing you take into a meeting is your frame of mind.

Be Mindful!

This statement often raises a few queries. It doesn’t say that you shouldn’t prepare diligently for a meeting. What it says instead is – the moment the meeting starts, the single most important factor that will determine your success is your frame of mind. You may well feel you have to do a significant amount of preparation to get yourself ‘centred’, for example. BUT it’s not the process the meeting follows that determines success the most; it’s you, your frame of mind and the thoughts that engender that frame of mind.

Specifically, whatever thought you process in your conscious mind passes straight into your unconscious mind and merges with any ‘subconscious programmes’ running there. The aggregate information is then passed directly to your DNA which vibrates at different rates in accord with your temperament. That is:

The vibe you put out determines your success.

I coached a very successful salesperson who never felt at her best in front of a CEO customer. It took a wee while for us to discover a subconscious programme she’d developed from her authoritarian parents, created by a ‘single significant emotional event’ when she was three years old. Once she ‘released’ this programme, her faith-in-self in front of CEO’s increased significantly. Her sales soared.

Research by scientists (e.g. The Biology of Belief, by Dr Bruce Lipton and The Genie in your Genes, by Dr Matthew Dawson) demonstrates the subliminal communicative functioning power of DNA between human beings which can be harmonious (I prefer the term, ‘resonant’) or out of tune (dissonant) – and at its extreme, disruptive.

Allow me to define ‘being competent’ as not only having the capability to demonstrate requisite skills and knowledge at the  customer interface, it’s also about being competent at preparing yourself to be at your peak, to achieve the gravitas (sometimes called ‘traction’) you seek.

Author’s note: gravitas is something we can all achieve; it’s a result not a gift privy to a chosen few. Only 15% or so of salespeople achieve the ‘customer gravitas’ they seek, hence this book!

Let me add, the competence that customers attribute to you will also include an element of the perceived competence of the solutions you bring to the table, i.e. an acknowledgement of the potential of your solution’s value proposition. Put another way, if the customer has little faith in what you’re selling, even though they value your personal contribution, to what degree will you be invited to participate in the decision making process?

We’ve covered two of the three ‘Cs’ in the E=MC3 equation. A salesperson not only has to be competent in following ‘top sales processes’ (and have potentially ‘competent’ solutions); they need to be confident in their ability and motivated to follow those sales processes too. And still there’s one further factor that determines how effective you are (by seeing what’s really going on), a heightened sense of…

Curiosity

Top salespeople are unstintingly curious. For example, they love to be coached. They are very willing to learn how to become more effective at selling.

Top performers focus on working smarter, not harder, than ‘moderates’

You might ask, “Curious about what?” Answer: “Everything!”

Top salespeople probe below the surface of what’s going on – especially when forging business relationships. Like a metaphorical iceberg, they acknowledge that you only see about 15% above the surface; the obvious facts and logic by which a customer makes a decision. But they don’t stop there, they’re proactive to find the real passions and fears which will motivate or deter key stakeholders in the decision making process.

Curiosity is the sonar signal you emit to track changes on your ‘sales radar screen’. You track political, economic, sociological, technological and organisational developments as well as your competitors’ manoeuvres. At the deepest level, you’re tuning into changes in customers’ feelings, e.g. inspiration, motivation, confidence, sense of security, anger and most of all – trust and fear.

There’s more. You also need to be proactively curious about what might happen. I return to this later.

To summarise: selling is three parts mental/emotional to one part intellectual.

E=MC3, it’s not rocket science!

Shine on…!
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Paul C Burr

Business/Personal Performance Coach & Author

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The Decisions You Make, Are They Borne of Love or Fear?

“We change the map of life itself by changing our attitude towards it.”

 from The Mind of the Druid by E G Howe

Mind of the Druid

(Probably the most profound book I’ve ever read. I’ve read it 4 times and I’m still trying to ‘get it!’)

Shine on…!
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Paul C Burr

Business/Personal Performance Coach & Author

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The Currency of All Relationships: Truth, Trust and Passion

QG3 BookCoverPreview.do

Shine on…!
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Paul C Burr

Business/Personal Performance Coach & Author

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It’s Out! Quick Guide II – How to Spot, Mimic and Become a Top Salesperson.

QG2 Book Cover 01Available from Amazon in US, UK and Smashwords in Kindle, paperback and e-book versions.

Publication Date: May 6, 2013 | Series: Quick Guides to Business

Over and above exemplary sales achievements how do ‘you’ (by ‘you’ I mean: you, me, us, we) spot a top salesperson when you meet one? Top salespeople come across differently. There’s a resonance to their mannerisms. If you want to sell as well as they do, how would you go about it? If you were to ask the same questions and give the same answers as they do, would that be enough? No, because you bring your own personality and mannerisms into the equation. It requires the wisdom and will to nurture 7 key traits by which top salespeople outsell ‘moderates’.
This series of ‘Quick Guides to Business’ is borne of research, direct selling experiences and coaching in some of the world’s largest companies including: IBM, Xerox, Cisco, BP, American Express, Standard Chartered and Reckitt Benckiser.


From the Author

I chatted to two advisers about a business book that “I have inside me”. I had original research and experience inside my head. I had data. It delves into people’s effectiveness at strategic and personal levels. I’d developed simple but powerful business frameworks and a scorecard that take people’s feelings, motivations and fears into account.

They reveal what happens below the surface of successful business relationships at their outset – and what needs to happen for those relationships to thrive. I had a lot to tell but would the busy-business people, it’s aimed at, read it? So I tested my ideas and scope for ‘the book’ with two wise confidants.

The first simply said, “At last, I’ve been waiting for you to write ‘your business book’. When are you going to write it? I want a copy!”. The second: “People want ‘quick guides’ these days. They want ‘manageable chunks’ of wisdom, practical tools and ‘cheat sheets’. Something you can read in minutes and do something with straight away.”

Subsequently, I gave a series of briefings to business audiences and post-graduates. The talks were very highly received. The University of London asked me back to talk to a wider range of postgraduates in business-related studies. I am due to go back a third time.

March 2013: I set about writing a series of Quick Guides. Each would have about 10-15 (A4 size) pages of findings, tips, self-help tools and insights into specific topics.

The majority of my work focuses on what top performers do differently from ‘moderates’. I’ve started in sales and sales management, an area in which I’ve coached hundreds of individuals/teams and conducted research – across Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

The first two guides reveal ‘the what, how and why’ top salespeople outsell ‘moderates’. They sequence activities differently. They come across differently. They attune their approach to the most senior of clients resonantly; ‘moderates’ do not.

My next and third Quick Guide… will reveal what needs to happen for business relationships to thrive over the long term.

Summary Bullet Points

This 17-page article (A4 size, excluding appendices) bears from my research, consulting, direct selling and coaching within global corporations over a twenty year period.

Within you will discover how and why top salespeople succeed through:

  • Effectiveness = motivation x confidence x competence x curiosity (or E=MC3)
  • Migrating from selling at D-Level (middle management) to C-Level (senior management) involves a journey, from a tangible and known environment to one of uncertainty and the unknown
  • Engaging a customer effectively and willingly, to co-explore uncertainty and the unknown, requires a salesperson to demonstrate 7 key traits, characteristics and competencies
  1. Faith-in-self
  2. Curiosity
  3. Composure
  4. Sensibility
  5. Co-opting
  6. Inspirational
  7. Passion
  • Top salespeople demonstrate that:
  1. The aforementioned 7 key traits are what really differentiate top performers from ‘moderates’, more so than behaviours in that they predict whether the salesperson will be successful selling directly to C-level clients.
  2. You can spot a top-performer or high-potential individual by noticing how much they demonstrate these 7 key traits.
  3. These key traits are nurtured not ‘trained in the classroom’; the nurturing process can be accelerated by equipping yourself with ‘non-expert’ coaching tools, such as in Appendix 2 – Prepare to Be at your Peak in Every Meeting.

Shine on…!
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Paul C Burr
Author of Quick Guide: How Top Salespeople Sell, Learn to Love and Be Loved in Return, 2012: a twist in the tail and Defrag your Soul

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Top Salespeople in the Future will Forge Truth…

Extract from Quick Guide – How Top Salespeople Sell

Picture courtesy of Electronic Payments Coalition

truth-magnifying-glassThe higher up a corporate customer’s management hierarchy you call, the more uncertainty there is to deal with. At operational levels, you deal with business unit managers who, by and large, are all measured against the same tangible yardsticks of performance.

Once above that level you deal with leaders of change who, by definition, are looking to do things that haven’t been done before. They focus on defining and creating new realities. They are the ‘harbingers’ of tomorrow’s world.

The ‘harbingers’ delve into the unknown. Their task is becoming increasingly difficult because the unknown, aided and abetted by ever increasing changes in technology, is getting larger and darker. There’s much more data about what’s going on but can it be extrapolated with confidence into the future?

There is very little data that accurately measures what the world or business may look like in anything beyond six weeks hence.

I went to series of banking seminars in and around mid 2008. Were there ‘green shoots’ appearing in the economy? Were we in an elongated dip? Were we starting a ‘double dip’? Nobody could predict accurately. Any form of optimism was mooted very cautiously. More data was called for. More analyses were completed. Did they make any of the forecasts more believable? No. Bankers and politician’s couldn’t predict the future with any sense of accuracy. They/we still can’t.

We live with more data, more unknowns and more uncertainty than we ever have because the future happens a lot more quickly than it used to.

The more uncertainty faced, the more we need to put trust in our advisors and ourselves. But trust is not truth.

Trust is the gap between what we know and what we put our faith in.

Here lies the role for, dare I say, a ‘newish’ generation of salespeople. There was a biggish fad a few years ago to develop salespeople to become ‘trusted expert advisors’. My personal experience is that you can count on one hand the number of ‘broad-based industry experts’ in, for example, a global IT sales organisation who know as much about, say, banking as the bankers themselves. And even then you might find you have three or more of your fingers missing.

The new sales role is more than mentoring and different. The relationship with the customer still requires a huge amount of trust but the ‘new salesperson’ doesn’t need to be an industry expert. Instead, they develop the expertise to help explore uncertainty and find answers in the hidden nooks and crannies of the psyche of their customers’ organisation.

By psyche, I mean the intellectual and emotional capabilities of its leaders and workforce. These salespeople don’t have magical answers. Instead, they have magical questions that spark the customers imagination into collaboratively putting together a believable ‘image-in-ions’.

This is about making the sales/customer relationship equation: 1 + 1=3. The sum of the parts is more than each party can bring to the table on their own. But this is a relationship that transcends trust, it’s rooted in truth. There are no hidden agendas.

When you exchange truth with another wholly, you no longer need to trust them. What remains is your trust in yourself.

This is more than being an ‘honest broker’. The salesperson of the future will still bring skills and know-how of their own industry to the table. BUT, the top salesperson will be an intrepid explorer too; capable of guiding clients into the unknown and back again safely. They achieve this by knowing how to find and help release that which holds the client back, namely fear.

Only four things hold us back in life: shame, anger, sadness and fear. When you look inside these negative emotions, you discover they’re all fear. The opposite of truth is falsity. Behind all falsity lies fear.

The top salesperson earns the customer’s trust because they deal in truth, and only truth. Truth drives out falsity which ultimately releases fear. More than trust, truth forges a relationship that can connect to the ‘greater good’ for all involved.

A business world forged by relationships rooted in truth might be a pipe dream. But we have to imagine it before we can create it. As we look back over history and specifically the world economy over last few years, it begs the question, “What sustainable alternative do we have?”

Shine on…!
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Paul C Burr
Author of Quick Guide: How Top Salespeople Sell, Learn to Love and Be Loved in Return, 2012: a twist in the tail and Defrag your Soul

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To Sell to CEOs: Find What They Value and Fear Most

Combined extracts from two business articles:

  • Quick Guide – How Top Salespeople Sell (available from Amazon in US and UK)

  • Quick Guide II – Learn How to Spot, Mimic and Become a Top Salesperson (coming soon)

 

“When you’re selling at board level it’s about taking the customer on a journey that’s both fantastic and believable. That is, no matter how complex that journey is…, it’s about breaking it down into manageable chunks. You create a pathway into the future that is as clearly marked out as possible. There will be uncharted territory. So it’s about discerning all the parts of the map that are known from those unknown.

dots

It’s then about pinpointing all the ‘dots on the chart of the unknown’. That is, answering all the ‘what if this happens’ questions.

dots joined

In effect, you join the dots of the unknown with customer as best you can.”

Top UK salesperson for a global top 10 IT company

Images courtesy of http://misswhit-tany.blogspot.co.uk/

What CEOs value:

The ‘science’ to determine value discovers what’s important to the CEO. And once you understand the customer’s priorities – how do you stack up (against your competitors) to deliver against them?

Here are sources of value (business drivers and problems to fix) that CEOs look for:

• Cash – Will your proposal improve our cash position?

• Cost Down – Will we reduce costs?

• Revenue/Market Share Up – Will we make competitive gains?

• Agility/Speed – Can we move, reshape, transcend quickly?

• Security – Will we be better protected?

• Governance – Am I compliant with Company Law?

• Product/Service/Cost Leadership – Will our own customers notice and value the changes in our organisation that your proposal offers?

• Innovation (e.g. Technology, New Business Models) – Do I want (to be seen) to be first in the marketplace, to do something differently? Does your proposal accelerate the process?

• Personal Credibility – Can I use your proposal to advance my own prospects and standing?

• People – Will your proposal raise the effectiveness and job satisfaction of people?

• Something else? – If you don’t know, ask “What else do you feel is important for me to know?” Even if you feel you know, ask anyway.

Put concisely, you need to understand profoundly what’s important in the heart and mind of your CEO client and convey the value you bring to the table in their language, not yours.

At this stage you may have provided sufficient verifiable value for the CEO to progress the sale. And there’s often a temptation to press on. In doing so, you may miss another, often unspoken, factor that weighs heavily in the CEO’s mind (as well as most of us) – fear.

The more you earn a customer’s trust, the more fears they share with you. They give you more power deliberately to help them.

My thanks go to Professor Colin-Coulson Thomas who shared with me the bounty of a minute fraction of his wisdom, and made a significant contribution to the following list.

What CEOs fear:

• Bad earnings news: the most likely and quickest sign of departure.

• Corporate programs don’t deliver: mergers and acquisitions “achieve 70% of their potential” at best.

• Failure to turnaround ailing sales quick enough.

• Change takes too long: ‘corporate firewalls’ prevent people from getting it done.

• Investors don’t understand: a CEO spends 40% of their time articulating strategy and some argue that’s not enough.

• Personal wealth at risk: e.g. missed deadlines can lead to private investors swallowing up the shareholding of a company

• Lack of innovation: playing it safe is no longer an option these days. Competitors and customers are moving too quickly.

• Talent gaps in performance: e.g. 20% of the sales-force bring in 80% of the revenue.

• Conflict in the boardroom: too much time spent looking inwards leaves too little time to focus on the customer.

• Personal credibility at risk: any of the above means less likelihood of stepping up the ladder of success and/or lack of a legacy of note. These in turn can lead to…

• Personal health at risk: where the stressed mind-body connection can have serious consequences. I know of one CEO who, after missing targets set by investors, developed terrible eye problems because he didn’t like what he saw. Another developed disabling back pain through a lack of self-esteem. Another who was deemed too rigid and inflexible developed problems with their joints.

Your task is to earn the right to zig-zag; to take the CEO on a journey whereby they see your solution working in their organisation and have allayed any fears they once had.

Shine on…!
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Paul C Burr
Author of Quick Guide: How Top Salespeople Sell, Learn to Love and Be Loved in Return, 2012: a twist in the tail and Defrag your Soul

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TftD: Changing your Character, Changes your Life

ChangeMan1Image courtesy of Blaze Institute

…All that happens is the result of character; the only manner in which the destiny can be changed is to change the character…..

the chart of birth….is merely a map of character…..

(and) can be markedly altered in any direction desired.

CC Zain

Shine on…!
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Paul C Burr
Author of Quick Guide: How Top Salespeople Sell, Learn to Love and Be Loved in Return, 2012: a twist in the tail and Defrag your Soul

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What Does It Take to Coach a Top Executive or Performer?

Kevin Price

Any form of business improvement, be it personal or strategic, is a journey, 2 parts emotional to one part intellectual.

I was a guest of Kevin Price, on the Price of Business radio talk-in show on Thursday, 28 March 2013.

Click here to listen.

What does it take to increase the effectiveness of someone who’s already the best (or at least very experienced) at what they do?

Shine on…!
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Paul C Burr
Author of Quick Guide: How Top Salespeople Sell, Learn to Love and Be Loved in Return, 2012: a twist in the tail and Defrag your Soul

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TftD: Truth Goes Hand in Hand with Trust but Ultimately Surpasses It

Honesty

Honesty

Being honest often requires courage. And courage is about letting go of fear and trusting yourself.

Trust is the gap between what you know to be true and what you have faith in.

And truth drives out falsity.

Have faith in, and be true to, yourself (“above all else” as the Bard once said.)

Shine on…!
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Paul C Burr
Author of Learn to Love and Be Loved in Return, 2012: a twist in the tail and Defrag your Soul

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Shame, Not-self-love, Is the First Step toward Mind Control

GuiltAs a child I was taught to (do things that) please God and fear the Devil. By the age of 12, I allowed a cleric’s sermon to make me feel ashamed for all the ‘wrong’ things I did, thought and felt – like most young folk do, think and feel as they reach puberty. Much later I realised that guilt or shame is half of the ‘carrot and stick’ deal that parents, governments and some religions use to ‘control’ children, the populace and followers respectively.

Illustration by Andrea Kurucz

When you allow someone else to make you feel not good about yourself, you accede to their first step in mind control. Their intent is that you do their bidding, not your own.

To avoid mind control, you need to understand the nature of your own shame; you need to venture into your own ‘underworld’ to find the sources of that shame. Especially those things your parents did that made you feel ashamed as a child and perhaps hid away deep within you unknowingly.

You may not know consciously all the sources of shame you possess and may need some form of ‘plutonic’ awakening to unearth them.  Shame is a gap between how you perceive you are and how you’d like to be. In my life I’ve been ashamed of being overweight, of hurting people but the deepest and most profound shame (that I’ve only recently discovered) was that I was not worthy of my parents’ love. And if I was not worthy of their love, I was not worthy of self-love. And if I was not worthy of self-love then I was worthy to love someone else – because I can’t give what I don’t possess. My shame stultified my capacity to love and be loved in return.

When you do something out of shame you may allay feeling that shame, but you never rid yourself of it. You can’t atone shame – but you can release it. You release shame by practicing self-forgiveness.

I’ve shared how my understanding of forgiveness has evolved in two previous blogs (Replace Forgiveness with Accountability and Client:-”I Can’t Forgive Myself.” – “You Don’t Need To.”).

In a nutshell:

Self-forgiveness is not about one part of you saying to another, “Even though you did wrongly I forgive you”. It’s about releasing all judgement.

 Shame is a form of not-self-love that lives in your head, rent free. Self-forgiveness is allowing that not-self-love to leave completely.

 When not-self-love leaves, all that remains is self-love; what’s in your head aligns with the love you hold in your heart.

You become love wholly.

You shine!

Shine on…!
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Paul C Burr
Author of Learn to Love and Be Loved in Return, 2012: a twist in the tail and Defrag your Soul

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TftD: The Paradox of Joy and Hurt

hurt happy“The person who hurts you is often the person you run to, in order to feel better.”

Image sourced from Moments Count

Shine on…!

/|\

Paul C Burr

Author of Learn to Love and Be Loved in Return, 2012: a twist in the tail and Defrag your Soul

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May ‘La Force’ Be With You

Willpower + Commitment + Self Trust = Faith in Yourself

Slightly revised extract from Defrag your Soul

Hu-man did not invent the wheel, the steam engine, the aeroplane or the nuclear bomb without the capacity to imagine each invention in the first place – along with willpower, commitment and trust in its own ability to create such inventions. The same holds true for the future you seek for yourself.

11 StrengthTo invoke such ‘magic’ you need to perceive your ‘image-in-ions’ as highly desirable and have faith in yourself. You may find you need that faith in yourself for many other reasons:

The road can be long and hard.

 I found thousands of ways how not to make a light bulb.

I only needed one way to make it work.

(Paraphrased from) Thomas Edison

You can meet many setbacks and stumbling blocks. Being a Leo, I’ve found affairs of the heart to be the biggest area of learning. The area, more than anywhere else, where in the past I have disowned facets about myself. Such setbacks and heartaches required a vast amount of patience with myself as well.

You may be ridiculed, ignored and isolated.

 All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Arthur Schopenhauer

Revolutionaries: Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Oscar Wilde and Pink Floyd were all ridiculed either by their peers or the media before the world accepted the beauty and wisdom of their works.

When truth attempts to usurp not-truth, those protectors of not-truth in power often do all they can to suppress it; without bringing it or the truth tellers to the public’s attention.

Although I am a typical loner in my daily life, my awareness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty and justice has prevented me from feelings of isolation.

Albert Einstein

In my early years when I first got into spirituality, I was prone to be outwardly enthusiastic about my journey within. Most of the people around me were not into ‘it’ at all.

When, for instance at a wine party, I started spouting off about “shining light into my inner darkness”, I would get different types of response.  The minority would show interest but the silent majority would remain quiet and walk away to join another group who talked about ‘normal’ things. Some who objected strongly to what I was saying would let me know of their views in no uncertain terms. Others would ridicule me face to face or behind my back. It is often easier to ridicule something than to face it; especially when that something invokes fear in you.

There’s a paradox too. If I’m attracting ridicule, is it because I fear it? Probably yes. In the meantime, I do my best to avoid responding to ridicule with ridicule or any other animalistic response. Sometimes I fail.

You may choose to isolate or distance yourself.

I go to the occasional reunion where others see changes in me. I no longer take much interest in ‘normal’ day-to-day small talk, like who is going to win ‘the current Saturday night TV contest’ or get thrown out of some ‘reality’ show. Many of my interests have changed and, perhaps more significantly, my perspective has changed.

For example, I feel distanced when people complain about being the victims of an economic recession that we have collectively created. At the same time, I ask myself, “Why have I attracted this conversation? I wonder where I am not being accountable for what I receive in life; whom or what am I blaming?”

I do not consider myself superior in any way and do my best not to come across as an evangelist. It’s that I’ve moved on. If people ask my opinion about the latest TV game show, I probably don’t have one. If we’re discussing global events, I speak my views.

I prefer to distance myself from day-to-day chatter or ‘complaining about the system’ – both of which I might have engaged in once upon a time.

I still ‘rabbit on’ a lot about two of my passions though: football and music (probably more than I do about spirituality J) and, undoubtedly, I distance a few people from myself in the process as well.

You may be opposed violently.

When all other attempts at their suppression fail, truth tellers face their sternest test; to stand firm and risk physical harm from those who stand to fall by truth. I could cite religious, political and civil-rights leaders, pacifists and innocent people – all whom have been attacked, beaten and some murdered ignominiously to prevent truth from being revealed to, or sustained in, the world.

What others do not do to you, you may do to yourself.

Without willpower, you limit the depth of your learning; you only go so far and you only get so much in return. When you commit yourself 100% to a project, that’s what you can receive in return, 100%. On the other hand, if you commit less than 100%, you get at best what you put into it and sometimes you get nothing. Ask any seasoned salesperson.

 ________________________________________

Act as if you make a difference. Act as if you count. Act as if and you will…

Notice the focus is on your journey, more than the outcome.

From Warrior to Magician

By Paul C Burr

Toward the flower in full bloom,

Full Truth in the noonday sun.

Devoid of ego, it casts no shadow.

With no nooks and crannies to hold darkness,

All it can now do is give of itself.

Unafraid of being cut down (crucified) by those, in power, who fear Truth.

 

The Warrior stands bereft of armour, sword and shield,

Secure in what they know is Truth.

No words of explanation required.

No fear to control or manage.

The darkness embraced.

The fear dissolved.

 

Armed with only Truth and compassion,

The Warrior thus becomes the Magician.

This is the way of the Tarot.

This is the true definition of White Magic.

Tis called redemption.

Shine on…!
/|\
Paul C Burr
Author of Learn to Love and Be Loved in Return, 2012: a twist in the tail and Defrag your Soul

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Tip for the Day: Truth in a Relationship

truthTruth drives out falsity, the mother of lack-of-trust. When trust, the bedrock of a relationship, crumbles you have nothing to build on.

Image sourced from Jeff Beck

Shine on…!
/|\
Paul C Burr
Author of Learn to Love and Be Loved in Return, 2012: a twist in the tail and Defrag your Soul
Follow @paulburr

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Self-Coaching Tool about Relationships.

Social web network marketing diagram.

Rather than seeing success as a specific outcome, change your focus to seeing it as a network of  ’10 out of 10′ relationships. When everyone who can stop you achieving success is onside – there is no one and nothing to stop you.

Image sourced from Think Holistic, Act Personal

You cannot achieve success without forging equally successful relationships – starting with the relationship you have with yourself.

Think of a business or personal situation that’s important to you right now.

Who are all the people (include yourself) who can stop you from being successful (i.e. they have the power of veto)?

Give your relationship with each person a score out of 10, where 10 means ‘the relationship with this person is exactly where we both want it to be’.

To get the relationship to a 10, what does each person on the list want from you?

Are you willing to give it? (And what might you want in return?)

If so when?

Go give.

Shine on…!
/|\
Paul C Burr
Author of Learn to Love and Be Loved in Return, 2012: a twist in the tail and Defrag your Soul

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A Common Business Issue: Lack of Accountability Is a Symptom. The Problem is Fear

truthvmythWhen we are over-performing, the stage of success is filled with major players and acolytes; all accountable for their right to stand in the blazing footlights. On the other hand, when we underperform; the stage is often deserted apart from the chosen few, caught in the beam of a single spotlight, being asked to account for themselves.

The idea of measuring people to improve ‘accountability’ is also a hierarchical myth. Over-performers apart, it results in form filling to meet the ‘numbers’ and dodge the truth if needed – be it in the private (e.g. sales forecasting) or public (e.g. centralization of schools/hospitals statistics) sectors. A corporate board member of the world’s largest IT company referred this phenomenon to me as “…‘management’s perfumed pig’. What we need instead is truth!”
You, I, we, tick the boxes with answers so that hopefully, in management’s eyes, we aren’t singled out from the crowd. So where is the truth found?

Image courtesy of the Nikki Thomas Network

The journey starts by a commitment to treat successes and setbacks, as opportunities to learn what to repeat and avoid, with equanimity. Secondly, we answer fundamental questions about our behaviour and its effect:

  • What is it we do that aids/abets and what is the effect of this ‘helpful’ behaviour?
  • What is it we do that inhibits/hinders and what is the effect of this ‘unhelpful’ behaviour?
  • In the latter case, what could we do differently and what effect might that have?
  • Overall, what do we do/don’t do; knowingly/unknowingly that creates or somehow contributes to the successes and setbacks of ourselves and others?
  • And even if we were wise to all the answers to the above questions, do we choose the courage to act upon ‘the wisdom from failure’?

Lack of accountability is only the symptom. The problem is fear.

People are fearful of being perceived as failing or incompetent (by themselves as much as others). People thus fear being accountable.
If management were to have only one task, it’s not about measuring, it’s about releasing the fear in their organization and filling the subsequent void created with wisdom and courage.

An organization releases its fear and gets wise one person at a time, each of their own volition.

 

Shine on…!
/|\
Paul C Burr

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2012 – The Return to Oneness

2012 BoliviaThe Return

“Enough! I’ve had enough of winning and losing.

I can only exert a limited amount of power.

I can only spend a limited amount of money.

I can only create so much suffering before I kill off those over whom I am victorious.

 I can only suffer so much when I lose.

I have exhausted all the possibilities of winning and losing in the material world.

I now choose temperance.

I return to the harmony of opposites, the yin and yang, the will and imagination, to return to oneness.”

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Defrag your Soul: audio recording of talk about parts of the this forthcoming book, due for publication Summer 2012

Click here: DEFRAG YOUR SOUL
Transform your Consciousness:
a practical guide for the beginner and seasoned traveller within…

Illustration by Andrea Kurucz, selected as part of a gallery of drawings for Defrag your Soul.

Extended extract from a talk I gave to the National Federation of Spiritual Healers, on Saturday 12 May 2012, in central London. The talk contains some topics from my book, Defrag your Soul, due for publication in Summer of 2012.
Parts of the talk include:

  1. Beyond NLP
  2. What is your purpose in life?
  3. Duality
  4. How do you take spiritual steps on your journey within? How do you know you’ve taken them?
  5. The Etheric Body aka The Vital Body
  6. The links between the Etheric Body and Health
  7. The path to magic

Shine on…!
/|\
Paul C Burr

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