Dog Days

NB Book Autumn Courses in London now!

Voice of Influence Workshop – 24-25 SEPT
Find your powerful speaking voice. Connect with confidence

NLP Diploma – Starts 19 October
Powerful communication skills – successful relationships, leadership, influence, coaching. Three 2-day modules over 2 months
Details below

Summer time and the livin’ is easy … ♬ 


Warm days, long days, dog days …

I associate August days of my childhood with kicking a ball idly in our road with the dusty smell of privet hedges in the air. For many of us summer’s a dull routine time at work, a period when people take a holiday if they can, or if they can’t – or want to avoid school holiday periods –  just carry on.

Last year I had a lively August with interviews and article writing following the publication of The Art of Conversation. This year, it’s quieter, and in the less urgent pace of this time of year age-old questions find gaps to creep in: “What am I aiming at?” or “What should I do next?” or “What am I doing with my life?” You know the kind of question, that brings with it a dissatisfaction with the status quo, a discordant sense of un-channelled energy and an inability to settle to things; so that the easy-livin’ time of year gets to be the most disturbed, even as the sun shines and nature looks at its most beautiful and inviting.

Now you’d think urgency might be good – that it might make something positive happen. But I’ve found this kind of urgency to be exactly the opposite: there’s nothing worse than that speeded-up “gotta do, gotta do, gotta do” feeling for achieving anything useful.

  • “Gotta meet people” – and your vibe puts people off
  • “Gotta get work” – and your desperation repels
  • “Gotta do something important/worthwhile” – and your jittery energy scatters your thoughts and produces confusion and hopelessness

Yet, remembering back a few years, it was in just such a slump time of year when I created the bulk of my first book. It was autumn. Paid work had dropped off and I was feeling, if not exactly a failure, very far from a success. I didn’t realise at the time what a fertile period it would prove to be.

So I’m thinking now, how did that happen?

Very simple really, I found a way to accept that it was the way it was. I’d just read Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, that probably helped. For once I stopped fretting and accepted that this quiet period was how it was and this was where I was. It was the absolute opposite of “gotta do gotta do”.

So, looking back from now, I’d say this is what helps:

  1. Accepting that things are as they are as they are …
    not trying to change reality, and not taking anything in life as a personal affront. Knowing that nothing is more important than whatever I’m doing now. Telling myself, it’s okay; there’s a time and season for everything; a pause is good too.
  2. Finding joy in simple things, birdsong at dawn, sunshine, a tree, daisies at the roadside, a kind word – pausing for a moment to appreciate
  3. Focusing on this moment – watching my breathing and witnessing it slow down as often as I remember during the day. Telling myself, breathe, just be; everything’s okay; all is well.

And then, from this space, to notice any inner touching – any tiny thread of intelligence/desire/intention as it arises. For me it was, I wonder if …?” “What if I just write some of these thoughts down…?

Occasionally I do things against my inner voice, but you really should go for the thing that touches you most – even if you don’t quite know why it does. Alan Bates

In that state of ‘non-doing’ seeds had time to germinate and an idea matured without conscious pushing. I look back on the time with gratitude now, as that writing was the beginning of much good stuff that followed.

I wonder what might touch you or occur to you in odd idle moments this summer?

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. Robert Louis Stevenson

Happy long days!

Go well,




Naomi Woolf wrote in an article last week in the Guardian that “When people feel from your voice that you are confident, they will believe that you are smarter, and that you are better at what you do – even when you are saying the exact same thing.”

It’s true – people immediately think they know what you’re like, just from listening to your voice. If your voice doesn’t work well for you it’s really worth doing something about it.

The next Voice of Influence Workshop in London on 24-25 September is a great way to find your voice and confidence in a small group. Don’t put it off if you feel a bit daunted – every bit of feedback I get after this course confirms that it’s friendly, supportive and highly effective – even transformative – so what better time than now?

I also offer one-to-one face-to-face or Skype coaching on voice and presenting. Email me if you might be interested.


The new NLP Diploma starts on 19 October. NLP training is surprisingly effective. What will you get from it? Powerful communication and better relationships, confidence in all situations, more focus and clarity about where you’re going, surer decision making, leadership and coaching skills … and much more. Past delegates’ comments.

Module 1: Communication & Relationships 19-20 Oct,
Module 2: Leadership & Influence 9-10 Nov,
Module 3: Coaching & Change 26-27 Nov.

Never has quality NLP Training been so accessible! – Pay What You Can system for self-funding applicants. The very modest registration fee is for the basic venue and material costs, and the voluntary (but necessary!) element payable anonymously at the actual course according to what you can pay is for the NLP training and coaching you receive. More here.


The NLP Practitioner qualification is widely recognised professionally as a mark of your ability to resolve problems, achieve successful outcomes and lead others with skill and emotional sensitivity. Personally, you will find that your relationships improve, you achieve your life goals more easily and you ‘find yourself’ in all senses of the term.

If you’ve completed my NLP Diploma you can be certified as an NLP Practitioner. This includes attendance at the 3-day intensive NLP Practitioner course.

NB!  If you have already completed the NLP Practitioner Module you are welcome to repeat the 3-day training completely for free. Email me very soon if you’re interested.

Spirit of Coaching Retreat in Oxford

The Spirit of Coaching next international retreat for coaches is at the Brahma Kumaris Retreat Centre in Oxford from 2-4 October. Other retreats have been rich and rewarding for participants. If you are a coach and would be interested to attend this ‘by invitation’ event, email me and I’ll pass your name and details on. It is free, though contributions are always welcome.





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