• Do you dress to impress ?  What do you take that question to mean?  Is it asking whether you dress smartly, colourfully or outrageously?   Dressing to impress is normally said in relation to a job interview or another situation where the spotlight might be on you.  Whatever you take it to mean, the answer is ‘Yes, you do dress to impress’, however unconsciously that may be. However you dress you will make an impression.  We all form an opinion of someone we meet for the first time within seconds. What you’re wearing and how well you're wearing ...

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    How do you define personal branding?

    There can be a lot of confusion around what constitutes personal branding so perhaps a useful place to start is by saying what it’s not. It’s not about logos and letterheads. Logos and letterheads are part of your business branding. While of course there’s a connection between the two, i.e. a good business brand for a solo entrepreneur should reflect their personal brand, they are absolutely not the same thing. Branding is about your business (which of course, if you’re a solo entrepreneur includes you), personal branding is all about you. It’s about how you represent yourself, and ...

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    How big a risk will you take?

    How much of a risk taker are you? How safe do you like to feel? There’s a matrix that you can apply to risk taking with 3 key issues to be balanced against each other. These are: the likelihood of the worst outcome occurring, the level of seriousness of that worst outcome and your own competency or skill level. The idea of this matrix came to me when I was on a paddleboard, considering whether to venture out onto quite deep water. The worst outcome was to fall off. At that time, I had never fallen off a paddle board (I have now!), so the likelihood was in one way fairly low. However, ...

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    To do or not to do

    How often do you use the word try?  How often is at an excuse to appease someone, and how often is that someone you? ‘I’ll try to get to the event.’ ‘I’ll try to get this finished on time.’ ‘I’ll try to eat healthily.’ You probably have your own similar phrases. Try might be replaced by I’ll do my best. The implication is the same. I did try! On the surface, perhaps there’s nothing wrong with the word try, particularly if you're already very busy and genuinely aren't quite sure how your day is going to pan out. Of course you don't want to make any promises or ...

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    When does tension become stress?

    What sorts of things create tension in your life? When does that tension tip over the edge and become stress? We hear a lot about stress today and how it impacts our health in a negative way, which it definitely does. An excess of ongoing mental stress affects your physical as well as your emotional well-being. Stress causes the body to produce an excess amount of adrenaline, but often with nowhere for that adrenaline to go. It doesn’t get burned up by the physical activity of fighting or fleeing, which is the primal instinct that gives rise to it. In the end either our body or our ...

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    Don't forget the grey areas

    Have you ever been put on the spot to answer a question, when you know that the answer you give doesn't give the full picture or may even be misleading? Have you ever had to categorise things or people that don't fit neatly into any of the options available? For example, if you were asked to assess yourself for your skill on using social media and whilst you’re a whizz on Facebook you don't really use anything else, would you rate yourself as excellent, very good, not good etc? Whichever you choose, your answer could be misleading. What made me think about this was an after dinner game...

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    Who's in charge - your body or your mind?

    To what extent does your posture affect your mood, and vice versa? Is one more powerful than the other? The truth is that they have an ongoing mutual impact on each other, so trying to identify which is more important is a bit of a chicken and egg situation. It’s easy to overlook how small changes in posture can affect your mood. How do you sit or stand when you're feeling confident and happy? If you're not sure, think about someone you know who seems confident and happy most of the time. How do they sit or stand? What about when you or someone else is feeling low or unhappy? ...

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    Wear your own shoes

    Have you ever taken in a role that was previously fulfilled by someone who had done a great job, been really popular, or worse still, both? Perhaps the others in the organisation didn't want that person to leave and weren’t  too open to you as the new post holder. It can be a daunting task, not helped when colleagues and friends remind you that you have big shoes to fill. My own experience of this was when I got a job within a small team at the British Embassy in Bangkok. For the first time in my life I was met with cold shoulders by most of the team and I found it uncomfortable....

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    Don't be too attached to one outcome

    How disappointed are you when you don't quite achieve something that you were working towards? That might be something as simple as a deadline you wanted to meet or it could be a personal goal you've set yourself, such as climbing a mountain or learning a new skill. Within a business context it might be to launch a new product by a set date, to reach a certain sales target. None of these things are going to happen if you don't take appropriate action and there’s no guarantee that they will happen even if you do. So what happens then? How do you react or respond? Perhaps more ...

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    Who are you playing today?

    Have you ever stopped to think about all the different roles you play in your life – and for whom? There are probably more than you think. When you first came into the world you were somebody's son or daughter. You will also have been someone's grandchild. Possibly someone’s niece or nephew, brother or sister. The list will then have grown as you have. You will have been someone's friend, someone student, someone's brownie/ guide / beaver/ scout. Today you may still be some of those plus a lot more besides. Are you someone's employer, employee or colleague? Someone's coach or ...

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