Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Some Golden Rules of Entrepreneurship

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Just a few nuggets…

For manifesting your future business

I. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just do something and improve it as you go along. Spend more time on implementing your decisions (99%) than on making them (1%).

II. Don’t be afraid to adapt. The worst thing you can do is keep pushing something that has no chance of surviving. Also, don’t be afraid to persevere when you really believe in something. Learn to balance these two considerations, it’s the art that will define your success.

III. Don’t let yourself be scared of competition, the economic climate… or by your well-meaning surroundings. The time is always wrong, and always right. Keep your vision firmly in mind, and go for it! You will survive.

Golden Rules of Entrepreneurship

For running your business

I. Go all out or don’t go out at all. Employees can get away with shrugging things off when they leave the building. As an entrepreneur, the game is always on. For one, always have your business cards with you. Going for it is not the same as being pushy or stressed out though!

II. Do one thing at a time. Limit multitasking. When you’re offering different services or products, build out one of them at a time. Focus all your energy on that one thing until it begins to run itself. The others will automatically follow, and growing them will become easier.

III. It’s not about you, it’s about your customer. You can make excuses and feel sorry for yourself all you want; in the end the only thing people will buy is a valuable product and memorable service. Embrace – even look for – complaints and difficult customers, they’re your main source of improvement.

Golden Rules of Entrepreneurship

The Ultimate Rule Of Entrepreneurship

Make your own rules. Please, don’t take my golden  rules too seriously. They’re made up, which is true for pretty much everything. The whole world could be telling you it’s impossible, but what if you can prove them wrong? You became independent to do your own thing, so do it!

Golden Rules of Entrepreneurship

Solving the Belgian politicial crisis – systemically

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

The Belgian Systemic Institute researches and teaches system dynamics. Based on the technique of family- and organisational constellations, certain basic dynamics can be deducted about the way people connect in groups. The most elementary system is our family of origin, but the Belgian political system can also be considered a system.

For the moment, one thing is abundantly clear: our political system is far from harmonious and effective. Systemically, it has root causes that can be found much deeper than the way it’s being tackled today. And that’s what we’ll be looking at on the 23rd of June: to undersand the deeper dynamics of the political stalemate.

We’ll start off with some short insights into systemic work and what its possibilities are. Then everybody’s invited to participate in the group constellation that will create deeper insight. It’s an ideal way to get to know systemic work, and who knows – to save Belgium.

Mail us on to enroll or for more information (the whole event will be in Dutch).

How To Set Priorities – Stephen Covey’s Time Management Grid Revealed

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

The previous four articles in this eight-part series respectively covered the causes of procrastination, how to overcome procrastination, the Ultimate Way to increase productivity and 10 ways to improve productivity. This week another important part of time management: setting priorities.

What often goes wrong in our work is that we allow unimportant tasks to precede more essential things. Because they’re faster, easier, more urgent. That way, we end up in a rut of endless operational tasks that never allows us the time to work on those dream projects of ours. What to do?

We run around saying: ‘If only I had more time, I could get everything done.’ The good news is: you do! The bad news: you’ll have to let some things go. If you don’t, more time would just give you more meaningless tasks to fill it up with. What you need is to stay conscient of and focused on what’s really important. That’s the only way to get the big things done in life!

Priority setting - Time Management

Part 5/8: How To Set Priorities – Covey’s Time Management Grid

An excellent and easy way to decide on priorities is Stephen R. Covey’s Time Management Quadrant. I’ve been using this to create clarity in my todo’s for ages, which has completely changed my view on my work. I used to be stressed all the time and complain about not being able to do what I wanted; now I just decide what I want to do and make time for it.

So let’s get to it! Take at the quadrant below and put it on a big piece of paper, but keep the squares empty. Now what are these quadrants all about?

Stephen Covey's Time Management Grid

Stephen Covey's Time Management Grid

Things in Sector I are both Urgent and Important. These are most often things that come from others: deadlines for clients, reports for you manager… Things that need to be done yesterday, or things will blow up. Sector II contains things that are important, but not urgent. It’s our real goals, the things we want to realize in life. Sadly, it’s also the things that we delay because of things in Sector I – or worse, in Sector III: things that are urgent but not important at all.

A good planning creates a balance between sectors I and II. Ideally, you should clear out Sector I completely and work only in Sector II. As for Sectors III en IV: it may sound harsh, but I think it’s best you let them go. Especially as long as there are still things to do in Sector I or II.

How to decide what’s important (or not)

If you find you have nothing to put in Sector III and IV, you’re probably taking on too much. Choose what you really want to get done, and what you could live without. Let them go for the time being. Focus on those things that are essential to you, and forget about all the rest. Result: more focus, less clutter!
Assignment: fill in all of your work, projects, dreams… in these quadrants. Take a look at your planning and work: are they in concordance with your priorities? If not, adapt your planning!

Prioritizing - how to set priorities

The next three articles in this series will deal with Email Time Management and getting things done when working from home.

Don’t forget to check out the previous articles in this series:

  1. 6 Surprising Causes Of Procrastination
  2. How To Overcome Procrastination – RIGHT NOW
  3. The One And Only Way To Increase Productivity
  4. 10 Simple Ways To Improve Productivity Right Now

PS.: Now that you’re here, do leave a comment. Even if it’s a small one! A blog is so much more fun when people react to it…

Are you happy?

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

How to be happy

New words for 2010

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Some of the more interesting recent additions to the English language:

Testiculating – Waving your arms around and talking bollocks.

Blamestorming – Sitting round in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed and who was responsible.


Seagull manager – A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything and then flies out.

Salmon Day – The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die.

Cube Farm – An office filled with cubicles.

Prairie Dogging – When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm and people’s heads pop up over the walls to see what’s going on. (This also applies to applause for a promotion because there may be cake.)

prairie dogging

Salad dodger – An excellent phrase for an overweight person.

Swamp donkey – A deeply unattractive person..

Aeroplane blonde – One who has bleached/dyed her hair but still has a ‘black box’.

Percussive Maintenance – The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again.

Oh-No Second – That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you’ve just made a BIG mistake. (e.g. You’ve hit ‘reply all’).

Greyhound – A very short skirt, only an inch from the hare.

Millennium Domes – The contents of a Wonderbra, I.e. Extremely impressive when viewed from the outside but there’s actually naught in there worth seeing.

Monkey Bath – A bath so hot, that when lowering yourself in, you go: ‘Oo! Oo! Oo! Aa! Aa! Aa!’.

Mystery Bus – The bus that arrives at the pub on Friday night while you’re in the toilet after your 10th pint and whisks away all the unattractive people so the pub is suddenly packed with stunners when you come back in.

A bit too long maybe

A bit too long maybe

Tramp Stamp – Tattoo on a female’s back.

Picasso Bum – A woman whose knickers are too small for her, so she looks like she’s got 4 buttocks.

Tart fuel – Bottled premixed spirits, regularly consumed by young women.

How to really motivate people at work

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Looking for a new way to get employees to behave with the responsibility and initiative of a business owner? Look no further! Daniel H. Pink recently unleashed his powerful book ‘Drive‘ on the world. He explains why money is only a motivator for purely mechanical tasks, and how you should only use money to have people not have to worry about it. He also explains what really motivates people. RSA made an amazing animation about this, which I think you should definitely watch.

The question remains – how to implement this in your own company? That’s exactly what I researched and put in my employee motivation ebook: ‘why employee rewards won’t drive your sales up’. I looked at all the main motivation theories, from Maslow over Herzberg to Hackman&Oldham. Then I looked at management practice, incentive schemes and leadership studies. And of course I read Dan Pink’s book.

Because you have to be thinking about your organisational goals, and at the same time you’d love to implement these ideas that Dan Pink is offering! My ebook answers this conundrum, giving you techniques and a seven-step plan to getting your people highly motivated without bonuses.

People are awesome

Friday, October 29th, 2010

A visual ode to those that constantly push back the limits of the impossible:

How the anatomy of the brain influences our behaviour

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Do you control everything you do, or are there instincts that act faster than the shadow of your consciousness? With this thought in mind we went down to a course in neurosciences at Elan Vital, given by the Institute of NeuroCognitivism.

Neuroscientists research the workings of the brain, and its effect on our conscious and unconscious behaviour. Different areas of the brain influence us and can come into conflict with each other. During the course in neuroscience we followed, four areas were identified that are instrumental in our daily dealing: the reptilian brain, the paleolithical brain, the neolithical brain and the prefrontal area.

The reptilian brain

This is the seat of our survival instincts. The animal state full of adrenaline you feel when your life is in danger. There are three typical reactions to this kind of stress: flight, fight or inhibition. Most people have a general tendency towards one of these reactions, a typical way of reaction to stress.

Flight is when you run away from a situation, or you try to deny it by looking away.

Anatomy of the Brain - Flight

Fight is trying to dominate to get your way even when you’re wrong or in a losing position.

Anatomy of the Brain - Fight

Inhibition is giving up, curling into a defeated little ball and playing dead.

Anatomy of the Brain - Inhibition

The reptilian brain isn’s only activated when our life is in danger. It can also happen when we’re faced with a situation to which we have no set answer. Like talking to a complete stranger, or facing a difficult new problem at work.

As long as we don’t have a sure strategy to deal with a certain situation, this part can become activated as a kind of alarm bell. Most of the time however, the reptilian brain isn’t the part you want to be in when faced with stress.

The paleolitical brain

The paleolithical brain

The paleolithical brain

Every time you come into a new social situation or group, your position is decided. It happens nearly instantly and through the instinctive messages being sent out by your paleolithical brain. This part of your brains works according to two main axes: dominant-submissive and marginal-axial.

The first axis, dominance-submission decides how domineering or submissive someone generally is. It’s also relative: you can be dominant in one situation and submit to someone else’s authority in another – depending on the people you come into contact with.

The paleolithical brain decides natural dominance and submission, not formal hierarchy. So even when someone is a manager, it could be that their subordinates are really the dominant ones. Of course, a naturally more dominant person will be more prone to become a manager.

People often force themselves to be more dominant, as this is what our culture looks up to. This can lead to a counterreaction of the paleolithical brain towards the submissive in other areas of life. A telling example is that of extremely powerful men becoming SM slaves in their spare time.

The marginal-axial axis indicates how connected someone feels to others, and the world as a whole. Marginals tend to be wary and place themselves outside of groups, while axials love being in company and trust in the energy of the world to take care of them.

This instinctive positioning of the paleolithical brain is more or less fixed. It can change, but not much. With effort, someone can shift their general position on these axes. What often happens is that people use the neolithical part of their brain to bypass the paleolithical position they have in a group. A good example is someone who takes class to speak in front of large groups.

The neolithical brain

The neolithical brain

The neolithical brain

This is the part of the brain we could call our consciousness. It’s where all our habits, convictions, strategies, memories etcetera are placed. It’s everything we rationally know and are able to do. It’s the part we use to perform routine tasks like brushing our teeth, driving, talking… and also to solve problems that we have procedures for.

This part of us likes habits. It wants to see everything solved according to strict rules, thinking within the box. Of course, life constantly throws up situations the neolithical can’t answer. In this situation, a panic reaction can start that takes us all the way down to our reptilian brain. Or we can use the prefrontal part of our brain to come up with a creative new answer.

The prefrontal area

The prefrontal area

The prefrontal area

This is the creative, higher part of our brain. This is where new links are laid, where there is overview and inner peace. It’s what artists call their muse, the state of ‘flow’ described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

Our culture is very much centered on the rational, the neolithical. Work life is often geared towards the repetition of known tasks, meaning that our contact with the prefrontal is only sporadic. That also means that in new situations, we go reptilian stress reaction more than we go prefrontal problem solving.

There are different ways to strengthen the prefrontal. The main way is to spend as much time there as possible: by seeking peace from routine thinking and feeling, by meditating. Another good one is to put yourself in new positions where you’re forced to come up with new solutions. Or through creative expression: theatre, painting, singing, writing… and laughing!

Prefrontal Brain

How the areas are linked to each other

You could see the progression from reptilian to prefrontal brain area as going from lower to higher; from animal instinct to higher self. Every higher part of the brain sees the parts below and can use their resources to make decisions. So the neolithical can become aware of paleolithical tendencies and correct with new strategies of dealing with group dynamics. The prefrontal can take in account all neolithical experience and still come up with a completely original solution.

This is why we advocate developing the prefrontal as much as possible; it’s where you have the most peace and possibilities!

Link of neurosciences with other theories and practices

Neuroscience offers a scientific link between well-known concepts from psychology and coaching. For example, the progression from reptilian to prefrontal is akin to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid: from survival to self-actualisation.

For the first time, biological science enters psychology and the study of the human mind. It carries enormous potential for the development of psychology. It also holds much promise for the growth of the coaching practice as an effective way to learn to deal with our brain and become more effective in our lives.

At YourCoach, we can now offer you coaching according to the principles of neuroscience. Do you find yourself ending up in reptilian stress reaction where you’re unable to formulate effective solutions to your problems? Would you like to use your prefrontal more and change certain patterns in your life? Would you like to bring more balance in your dominance-submission? Contact us for more information about coaching at YourCoach!

The link between marketing and coaching

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

We regularly get the feedback that our business model is rather diverse, and somewhat confusing. What exactly is it that we do? Is it websites, or coaching, or both? And how do we combine those within one company?

We’re actually a hybrid company. We love variable activities, going from technical to personal. With our diverse interests we have grown expertise in various fields that we use in all of our work. Sometimes they’re separate (not every coaching client goes home with a website :D), and sometimes we use everything we know in one project.

Like with Personal Branding, where we create a brand from someone’s unique traits and starting from their own values and vision. We start with coaching, where we elicit someone’s internal values and align them to create a compelling story. Then we use all of our technical and creative skills to give this a concrete form. That consists of a logo, house style, website (with SEO), copywriting etcetera. This process ensures success: our clients tell us exactly what they want, and we hear them. Just take a look at our references!

It’s our belief that companies will become increasingly hybrid like us in future. The holistic, human approach is more and more prevalent in corporate life. People working from home. Companies like Google that have people spend one fifth of their working time on projects that have nothing to do with their daily task. The shift in team buildings from learning specific skills to getting to the person below the professional, and developing him or her.

Our orientation is intuitive and based on our many interests. And because we’re passionate in all we do, success is guaranteed! We can help our clients on different levels, which means they can consult us for both personal and professional questions – and get them aligned.

What do you think about our business model and/or the way we present it? What can we improve? Let us know!

Forms of meditation

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

I’m not an expert in meditation, but I do know that there are different kinds. I notice that people that start meditating (like me) don’t have a clear view on the differences of every approach, which may lead to disappointment or objectives not being reached.

One way of meditating is concentration meditation (I’m inventing these names). This is where you keep your attention focused on one object. It strengthens your peace of mind and concentration skills, but won’t necessarily lead to any deeper insights. It’s like doing any other activity that absorbs all your attention, like extreme sports or fine arts.

concentration meditation

concentration meditation

Another way is passive attention meditation. This is the most well-known one, where you sit still and watch your breathing. You become aware of the thoughts that distract you and take your attention away. When you realise this, you accept the distraction and silently celebrate your return to attentive breathing and awareness. This is a very soothing form of meditation and leads to surprising insights. By overlooking the thoughts that spontaneously pop up in your head, often connections spring into existence between previously unconnected parts of your mind.

passive attention meditation

passive attention meditation

Then there’s active attention meditation, where you give a ‘flavour’ to your meditation. You set an intention, like feeling love for yourself and/or others; or setting an intention to let all thoughts and feelings concerning a certain subject come to the surface; radiating goodwill to the world; visualising a certain goal or situation; repeating affirmations; etcetera.

active attention meditation

active attention meditation

You can immediately see the difference between these forms of meditation. Their effect is also different, so it’s important to know where you’re hoping to go.

Did I forget something? Any interesting links about this subject? Let me know!