Friday, 17 December 2010

How to create more time in your day

Question: I have loads of plans for my business, but I never seem to have any time available to complete them. How would I go about getting more time in my business?

If you want to make good use of your time,

you’ve got to know what’s most important

and then give it all you’ve got.

Lee Iacocca

Answer: Great question! Excellent time management is something that is absolutely critical for everybody, but particularly if you run your own business. A good place to start with your time management is by being really clear on how you are spending your time. Carefully monitor exactly how you spend your time over the period of a week. Prepare a page for each day of the week, with 30 minute time slots on it, and then fill in your tasks as you go, we all under-estimate how long things will take us, which results in other things, which may be really important, not being done at all. You may be quite shocked at how much time you lose by answering non-urgent e-mails or allowing phone calls to go on for longer than necessary – it all mounts up. By doing this, you will notice, which things you spend too long over and also what you are doing which can either be delegated or are not required to be done at all.

Once you fully understand how you are spending your time, you need to ask yourself the following questions for each of those tasks:

1. What would be the impact on clients if the task isn’t completed today?
2. What would be the financial impact on the company if the task isn’t completed today?

3. Where there are deadlines, which ones can be put back until another day?
4. What are the causes and effects of completing (or not completed) a specific task day?

By answering those questions honestly, you can then further separate out the tasks which must be completed immediately, and if you have a number of those tasks, how do you prioritise them?
Well, I give each task a letter, for example:

A = Top priority jobs – those which must be completed today
B = Jobs that should be completed today
C = Jobs that you’d prefer to complete today but can be put off until tomorrow
D = Jobs where the deadline is some way off and you can complete later.

There are aspects of all jobs which we prefer to others that we need to accomplish. Then we procrastinate over the things we dislike doing the most by putting it off, although the thought of having to do it often hangs over us. Endeavour to get the things you dislike doing completed as early in the day as you can, this will give you a great sense of satisfaction and will allow you to continue through the day ‘on a high’.

By using the above techniques you should easily be able to save yourself at least 30 minutes per day, which adds up to 2.5 hours per week, more than enough time to get going on the plans you have for your business.

If you feel that it would be easier for you to get control of your time management if you were working with somebody then please just get in touch with me at Nicholl Consultancy and I would love to get you started.

Finally, have a fabulous Christmas and a successful 2011 - bye for now!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

How to get organised

This is another question some of my clients have asked that I thought I would share:

Question: I’m struggling to get organised I know that being organised will help me develop my business, but I’m not sure where to start. Please help!

Organising is what you do before you do something,
so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up
- A A Milne

Answer: I can relate very closely to this question, because unless my office is well organised I cannot be productive. In fact, I will find all sorts of excuses to avoid going into it – which is not helpful when you are self-employed!

The best thing to do is to set some time aside and commit to getting started. The longer you put it off, the more disorganised you get. Even if you can only spare an hour a day, then by the end of the week, you will be 5 hours more organised!

Start on one side of your office and decide how far you are going to move around the room before the time you have set aside runs out, then start sorting, have the shredder ready for anything that is no longer required and lots of bin bags. I am a great believer in ‘divide and conquer’ and what I mean by that is separate things into organised groups not one big heap!

Sort your paperwork into categories eg: Useful articles, marketing information, invoices, outgoing expenditure receipts, clients/customers etc. and remember your office will look worse before it starts to look better!

Once you have cleared out the space that you have allocated for that day, then start to re-examine the piles of paperwork and see if there is any duplication and be ruthless, then do some more shredding – I like that bit!

I find box files really useful, you can label them clearly and they look nice on shelves or in bookcases and the information in them is easy to access. So make sure when you start your organising that you have lots of box files to hand.

Now put the paperwork that you have sorted into appropriate groupings, into the relevant box files and put them away on shelves, I like to put them away alphabetically, so you know that your Accounts files will be stored before your client/customer information.

Keep repeating this exercise until you have worked your way around your office. By doing it in a methodical way, you will easily be able to see your progress. Also you will have examined every piece of paper in your office and will be reassured that there is nothing overlooked that might have the ability to come back and bite you because you have forgotten about it!

Another useful habit to get into, is to allocate the last 15 minutes of your working day, into putting everything away that you have used – this is called the “clear desk policy’ and then make a ‘To Do’ list for the next day. That way your office will always be tidy to return to and you won’t have to avoid it because it is messy.

Remember the 7 Step methodologies for organisation:

1. Sorting – eliminate all unnecessary paperwork.

2. Straightening or setting in order – There should be a place for everything and everything should be in its place.

3. Sweeping or Shining – Keep the workplace tidy and organised.

4. Standardising – work practices should be consistent and standardised.

5. Sustaining the discipline – maintain and review standards regularly

6. Safety – make sure your workplace is a safe place to be.

7. Security – protect yourself both electronically and personally against risks to your key business categories.

If the thought of getting started is too hard for you, then contact me at and I will make it easier.

Until next time - get shredding!

Friday, 3 December 2010

How to stay motivated when working on a Project

I was recently asked this question by a client and thought if they were struggling with it, then maybe it would make a good blog article, let me know if you find it helpful.

Question: I always seem to start on a project but then when it gets hard, I don’t have the motivation to complete it. How can I keep motivated on completing my projects?

Great things are not done by impulse,
but by a series of small things brought together
- Vincent Van Gogh

Suggestion: If the project is exciting and it stimulates you, then yes, it is easy to get started. However, once you hit the first problem, it all gets a bit daunting and not so exciting and it is easy to find lots of reasons (excuses!) to put off going back to it, because you feel that you need a huge chunk of free time to focus on the problem properly and you never seem to have that amount of free time.

The key here is to break your project down into much smaller steps that will gently lead you onto the next step and if you hit a problem, then break that down into small chunks, make that difficult phone call or do that piece of research, and also don’t forget to reward yourself each time you have moved your project further forward. Even something quite small, like a nice cappuccino coffee can be just the incentive we need to crack on for another twenty minutes, that could take you past the problem that was stopping you and move you towards the next step.

In the past when I have been struggling to complete something, I have chunked it down quite significantly and challenged myself to spend at least one hour per day on it (or however long you can allocate to it) and not allow myself any excuses and by doing that and getting started, I often find that I get engrossed in what I am achieving and carry on for longer. That way you complete your project much faster and stay motivated because you can see results, and the cappuccino coffee maker gets well used!

If you are struggling with something and would find it helpful to be challenged by somebody who has your success at the very core of their business then please get in touch with me at Nicholl Consultancy

Until next time -have a successful week!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Buff Up Your Business

The final strategy in the "Buff Up Your Business" series is:

Strategy 7 - Upgrade Who You Are

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start,
anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.

~ unknown Author

The better you are personally, the better your business will become.

Just what are the key things you should do, to ensure business success?

  • Set strong boundaries
  • Raise your standards
  • Improve your communication skills
  • Improve your management skills
  • Build your professional network

    Anybody who thinks they are already doing all of these things perfectly are kidding themselves, there is always room for improvement and in my experience, it is always more effective when two people are working together on these things. Why not contact me at Nicholl Consultancy and we can get started. Alternatively, if you are already brilliant at these things and don't need any help - then let me know your secret! I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Until next time, have a fantastic week.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Buff Up Your Business

The next strategy in the "Buff Up your Business" series is:

Strategy 6 - Expect and Require a Lot from Everyone

"Nobody rises to low expectations."
~ Calvin Lloyd

This includes: Vendors, staff, your management team, customers and yourself.

What should you expect?

  • On time performance
  • No problems
  • Value for money
  • Quick payment
  • Accuracy
  • Great attitude
  • Maximum performance
  • Professionalism
  • Consistency

If you are not getting these things regularly, then questions need to be ask, how are these issues holding my business back?

If you would find it easier to explore these questions with somebody who is not closely linked with your business then please get in touch with me at Nicholl Consultancy.

Until next time - Have a successful week.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Buff Up Your Business

The next strategy in the "Buff Up Your Business" series is:

Strategy 5 - Invest in your Business

I have a problem with too much money.
I can't reinvest it fast enough, and because I reinvest it,
more money comes in.
Yes, the rich do get richer

Research shows that you should invest between 2% and 10% of your sales to stay ahead of the competition.

But, what should you spend it on?

1. Research and Development - It is important to firmly focus on your customer or client, what do they need from you? What keeps them awake at night? That is what you need to be developing and ready to supply to them, just because your product or service suited them last year, it may not suit them this year or next year, find out where they are heading and be ready for them.

2. Marketing - I suspect that many of us are guilty of only focusing on marketing when we see that our diaries have gaps in them or when our order book is looking empty. That is the wrong time to start marketing. Why? Because it takes time for people to get to know you and want to buy from you. Marketing needs to be a continuous process, you should keep your company in the forefront of people's minds, so when they are ready to buy, you will be their first option. This is best done by drip-feeding rather than by flooding. Don't like marketing? Just contact me at Nicholl Consultancy and I can recommend a brilliant company.

3. Sales - Make sure you follow-up on any enquiries you may have had in the past, you probably are reluctant to contact people that showed an interest once but who didn't go on to buy from you. However, all that means is that they didn't need you at the time and if you ignore them in the future, when they are ready to buy, they won't come back to you, they will buy from somebody else, why? Because you didn't keep up the relationship and they may well have forgotten about you - just gently keep in touch by giving them information about new things you are offering, or promotions you are running, or passing on websites that you think they may find helpful, don't keep trying to sell to them, but become a helpful adviser, then they will want to turn to you when they are ready to buy.

4. Staff Training - Your staff are the life blood of your company, ensure that they know that you recognise that. Investing and updating the skills of your staff brings a two-fold benefit, they feel valued and your business gains an advantage. Are they communicating in the most effective way possible? Are their time-management skills really sharp? Do they know how to priorities efficiently? What about when dealing face to face or on the phone with your customers or clients, do they come over as professional and assertive or are they a bit aggressive or subsmissive? Is that the impression you want potential prospects to have of your company? Does your company have a directive style of management or are your staff encouraged to take responsibility for their own outputs? All these things can be easily addressed through the right training and workshops. The right training, with the right provider is always money well spent. Take a look at my workshop page at Nicholl Consultancy.

5. Technology - We don't keep up with technology are our peril. How much time do you waste by not automating as much of your business as possible? Do you have to respond to each e-mail separately and then write separate e-mails encouraging people deeper into your marketing funnel? This all takes up your valuable time and can easily be automated by auto-responders - just google it for lots of options. Make sure you have processes in place that can evaluate everything that you spend money on eg: how many people your website? Have you a means of capturing their information when they visit, if you don't, how can you build up your database in order to market more effectively? There are lots of ways that technology can help your business and save you time. Put times aside regularly in your diary to get clear on the things that are most time consuming for your company and then explore the technology that can help with it.

We can work on this together, why not get in touch with me at Nicholl Consultancy

Until next time -have a successful week

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Buff up your Business

The next strategy in the "Buff Up Your Business" series is:

Strategy 4 - Get all the Information you need to Run your Business Successfully.

"When you can measure what you are speaking about,
and express it in numbers,
you know something about it;
but when you cannot measure it,
when you cannot express it in numbers,
your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind."

Lord Kelvin 1883

From a Financial perspective you should have regular reports on:

  • Your sales;
  • cost of sales;
  • general and admin expenses;
  • operating and net profits;
  • accounts receiveable and accounts payable

You should be able to see at a glance what your sales are for the current month compared to last year. Do you need to do something extra right now, or are you matching or exceeding the figures?

Have you researched all avenues to ensure your admin expenses are being kept down?

On the operational side you need reports on:

  • Production rates;
  • customer count;
  • staff count/turnover
  • customer satisfaction ratings;
  • employee satisfaction ratings;
  • project status.

Do you know what your employee satisfaction ratings are?
Do you ever do a staff satisfaction survey?
Or have discussions about how things could be improved?
Do you ask for their ideas?
Remember happy staff are productive staff!

If you find the thought of all this a bit daunting and feel that it would be easier to plan it out with somebody then I would love to hear from you. Get in touch with me at Nicholl Consultancy.

Until next time, have a productive week.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Buff Up Your Business

Strategy 3 of the Buff Up Your Business Series is:

Spend 10% of your time with your Top 10 Customers

To my Customer.
I may not have the answer, but I’ll find it.
I may not have the time, but I’ll make it.


Why is it so important to spend 10% of your time with your Top 10 customers?

  • Because 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers;
  • they make your company possible;
  • they have all the answers;
  • they will help you grow and run your business.

You need to find out from them why they like doing business with you, as well as finding out what more you could do for them - go the extra mile.

Also find out where they see their business in the next year or so and adapt what you currently provide them with, to ensure you would be their preferred supplier when their business gets to the next level.

How can you do all this?

Well, what about putting together your own survey? You can do this very easily and at no cost - how amazing is that? Just go to and get started. I am not linked to this site in any way, I have just used it to great effect in the past.

Then, once you have the information you need to decide which direction you need to take your business don't struggle on your own, why not get in touch with me at Nicholl Consultancy and we can work on your strategy together.

Until next time, have an amazing week.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Buff Up Your Business

Strategy 2 of the "Buff Up Your Business Series" is:

Substantially Increase your Net Profit

Business is not financial science,
it's about trading.. buying and selling.
It's about creating a product or service so good
that people will pay for it.
Anita Roddick

1. Make profitability your focus - don't sell your skills or products too cheaply, many of us are guilty of that, remember it is not what we think it is worth, it is more about the benefits or profits the client will achieve as a result of it.

2. Develop timely and accurate financial statements - set yourself financial milestones along the way, by doing this you will quickly know when you have fallen behind on your forecasts and when it is time to put in more effort to make up the shortfall, much easier to do this as it arises rather than trying to make up for lost ground towards the end of your financial year.

3. Have a plan for what you are going to do with your profits - how exciting! Knowing know how you are going to reward yourself once you have achieved your financial forecast, really helps you to realise that all the hard work will be worth it and will keep you on track. What about putting a picture of that wonderful holiday destination or the new car you will buy, in a place where you will see it regularly, that will spur you on!

4. Watch Expenses like a Hawk - Each time you commit yourself to a financial outlay, reassure yourself that it is the 'best value for money' you can get, notice I say 'best value for money' and not 'cheapest' remember cheapest is not always best. Always try to negotiate for the best price or persuade the company to 'add something extra' if you buy from them rather than their competitors.

5. Increase employee retention and productivity - it costs about 7 times more to recruit and train a new member of staff than to keep your current staff happy and on side. Speak to your staff regularly and find out from them, what you can do to make their working life more satisfying, they may surprise you, by asking for more responsibility - great - that way you can free up more of your time by delegating more effectively, or it could be something as simple as you providing cakes on a Friday!

6. Systematise Everything - Anything you can do to make things run without your intervention is well worth the initial effort in setting it up. Things like autoresponders to enquiries on your website, website that automatically create a database of people donwloading things from your site, to a messaging company that takes all your call for (say) one afternoon a week which would allow you some quality uninterrupted time to focus on your business strategy, telemarketers who can contact your current clients/customers on a regular basis to find out what you are doing well and what can be improved to ensure they stay with you. Anything that frees up your time, is well worth systematising.

7. Be a Leader in your Field - Be proactive - keep asking your clients/customers what is it that you could provide them with that would help their business most in the future, keep an eye on the news and newspapers to see what is currently causing people problems and see if you can provide something that would help them. Keep observing trends and think about how you could 'ease the pain'.

If you would like to have somebody work alongside you as you are putting these strategies into place, then please just contact me at Nicholl Consultancy, I would love to be part of your success!

Until next time, when we will be looking at Strategy 3 of "Buffing up your Business"

Take care and have a great week.

Monday, 11 October 2010

7 Strategies to "Buff Up Your Business"

To be successful,
you have to have your heart in your business
and your business in your heart.

Thomas Watson Sr.

Over the next few weeks, we will take a look at seven different strategies that will make a difference to your business, provided you put them into practice. Because that is the key to everything - actually taking action.

Strategy 1 - Know why your company is in business

It is imperative to know:

  • Your company vision and mission
  • What kind of business you own and run
  • How you want your customers and staff to perceive you?
  • What makes it all worthwhile?
  • What the company's values and goals are.

Your vision takes into account the current status of your business and serves to point the direction in which you want to go.

For example: you may acknowledge that your business already meets industry standards in customer support but your vision might be that you will exceed industry standards and move customer care to a higher level within a given time period.

Your mission is more concerned with the overall aim of the business - a reason for being. For example: to deliver a product or service which surpasses your competitors offerings.

Your values are things like integrity, professionalism, delivering results, respect etc. and of course your goals are the targets you set for yourself and the business in order to make your vision become a reality.

If you find it difficult to find answers to the five bullet points above, then you probably need to explore them with a business coach, somebody who is not closely involved with your business, so they are unbiased and can assist you to look at things in a different way.

Why not take advantage of my offer of a free 45 minute coaching session to explore your business in more depth. Just contact me at Nicholl Consultancy and we can make a start.

Until next time when we will look at Strategy 2 - "How to substantially increase your net profit"

I wish you a productive and exciting week

Regards Sharon

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Have you done your "heebie-jeebie" today?

I can hear you all asking "what is a heebie-jeebie"? Well, according to the actress Celia Imrie, a heebie-jeebie "is a job that you don't want to do but you know you have to". We all have them, whether it is making that cold call, preparing and sending a difficult e-mail, designing a new workshop or a myriad of other things, that fall into the 'too difficult' to start category.

"I like work, it fascinates me.
I can sit and look at it for hours"

Jerome K. Jerome

I find the best way to motivate myself, is to promise myself a surprise reward once I have completed my "heebie-jeebie". What is a surprise reward? Well, I have a designated box in which I put slips of paper into, and on these slips of paper I have written things I would love to do if I only had the time and recently I have asked my friends to write reward ideas for me and they have been putting them into the box also.

So, when I have published this blog, I shall be dipping into my reward box and I'm really looking forward to finding out what my reward is.

Why don't you post a comment and let me know the type of rewards you give yourself when you have earned them? Also, if you need help to get started on your "heebie-jeebies" then just get in touch with me at Nicholl Consultancy.
Until next time, good luck with your heebie-jeebies!

Friday, 17 September 2010

Are Men the Best Bosses?

I read in the Daily Mail recently, the results of some research carried out on 3,000 people, by the online recruitment firm which states:

'Incredibly, both men and women are in total agreement

that men make better bosses

63% of women and 75% of men'

The reasons given for their answers were:

1. Women are only too happy to talk about their staff behind their backs
2. They are incapable of leaving their personal lives at home
3. They suffer mood swings
4. Likely to have a hidden agenda
5. They get involved in office politics
6. Women with power are 'loose cannons'
7. They feel threatened by colleagues and are too competitive
8. Too sharped tongued
9. They are too cliquey
10. They spend too much time worrying about their appearance.

The study goes on to say that 'No one is suggesting that women aren't intelligent enough to be in senior positions, far from it, but perhaps some need to be more approachable and less competitive. The study also said 'While women are more than capable of progressing to a management role, some lack the key skills required to be a good boss'.

Now, I am not saying that I necessarily agree with the findings, but in my experience, companies often fail to provide the necessary leadership training and assume that because they have promoted somebody, that overnight they will gain the necessary skills to lead effectively.

If you feel that there are areas of your leadership style that need to be explored then please get in touch with me at Nicholl Consultancy.

Oh, and the good news is,'we shouldn't forget that a third of those polled did say women are better to work for.'

Until next time - be the best you can be.

Friday, 10 September 2010

A rewarding way to make a huge difference to a child

My blog this week, is regarding something I am passionate about - making a difference to the life of a child, what could be more rewarding for both of you?

Think back to when you were growing up, if you had really supportive parents and an equally rewarding experience at school, then you probably think back to your childhood as a wonderful time in your life.

If however, you were one of the unlucky ones, whose parents weren't quite so interested in you or hadn't had such a great childhood themselves and didn't really know how to relate to you, then you may not look back with such fondness.

“Promise me you will always remember,
you are braver than you believe,
stronger than you seem
and smarter than you think”

Christopher Robin to Pooh

Four years ago, when I set up Nicholl Consultancy, I really wanted to fulfil my 'social responsibility' not only because businesses are expected to do that, but personally, I wanted to make a difference.

It is very strange when you firmly focus on something, opportunities arise. At this very time, when I was thinking about what I could do. A parent at a local primary school, made me aware that the school was going to try something new. This was, inviting 'responsible adults' to mentor some children at their school, who were struggling with things like, confidence, self esteem or even something as basic as having somebody with time to listen to them.

I was really interested, and after an evening held by the school, to find out more about it, I was hooked. After being CRB checked, and the school gaining parents' permission for their child to be mentored, I said I would like to mentor three children, once a month and the school were delighted - they would have been equally delighted if I had said I could only mentor one.

I spend about 40 minutes with each child, on a one to one basis, in an area where others pass through on a regular basis, like the school library, thus protecting myself and the child and we talk about things that the child wants to cover. Often, the sessions starts slowly until they warm up and feel secure enough to talk freely. I usually have paper and crayons on the table and the child often, without being asked, starts to draw pictures that graphically show what is bothering them, and then I ask them to explain the picture to me, but more often than not, the child talks about what it is as they are drawing because they are distracted by what they are doing. Sometimes it is something as simple as joining a social club and they are worried if people will like them or it could be that they just don't know how to control their anger.

Before we start working together, I explain to the child that anything we talk about is in confidence, with two exceptions, if they tell me that they might be a danger to others or that they are in danger themselves, then I will tell the school. If they agree to this, then we can start the session.

I have been doing this for four years now and have seen some amazing changes in the children that I mentor, but as a qualified coach, I often decide to coaching them instead, if I feel that they have the answers within themselves or are powerful enough to take the initiative.

Rewardingly for me, when some of my mentees have moved to secondary school, they feel that they have benefitted so much from our work together, that they want to continue and after contacting their secondary school, and explaining what we have been doing, they are very happy for me to continue with them and of course, now they are asking me to mentor some of their own pupils that are struggling with their social skills!

It makes you realise that your valuable time has been well spent when you receive feedback like:

"My chats with Sharon are helpful because she taught me how to cope with my emotions and direct it into being better behaved. I've stopped deliberately hurting people and I want to go on seeing her because, although I'm being good, I'm not perfect and it's nice to have someone who understands"

"I enjoy talking to Sharon, because it helps me make sense of my life"

"My time with Sharon has taught me valuable skills which will really help me later in life. I feel that she has improved my confidence and has helped me with my behaviour. I would like to thank her for putting up with me!"

So if you have any free time or your company is looking for something to help them fulfil their social responsibility and you consider yourself to be a 'responsible adult' why not get in touch with your local primary or secondary school and tell them how you would like to get involved.

If you want any more details, then please contact me at Nicholl Consultancy and I will be delighted to talk further.

Until next time - how are you going to make a difference?

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Winning Attitude Part 5 - Passion

When you're truly passionate about something,
work ceases to be work

The final characteristic of a Winning Attitude according to Shaun Belding in his book "Win at Work" is:


Are you passionate about what you do? Do you wake up each morning excited about how you are going to be spending your time and what you are going to achieve? If not, then it is likely that you are a square peg in a round hole.

Did you just fall into your current role or did you explore what you really wanted to do with your life, and set yourself goals to achieve it?

If it was the latter then congratulations, because those who set themselves goals are most likely to succeed and will enjoy the process, because you understand why you are doing what you do and what you want to achieve at the end of it - you have a plan.

For the others, as far as I know we are not going to get a second chance at this life, so you might as well make the most of things now. If you would like help with that, then get in touch with me at Nicholl Consultancy and let's get started, I really look forward to hearing from you.

Bye for now.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Winning Attitude Part 4 - Continuous Improvement

When the Student is ready, the Master Appears
Buddhist Proverb

Let's examine the fourth characteristic that people with the "Winning Attitude" have, according to Shaun Belding in his book "Win at Work" and this is:

Continuous Improvement

I believe this short video by Cherie Carter-Scott says it far better than I could. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. If you would like assistance to ensure your continuous improvement then please just get in touch with me at
Nicholl Consultancy
Until next time, have a successful week.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Winning Attitude Part 3 - Self Belief

"The greatest mistake you can make in life
is to continually be afraid you will make one"
Elbert Hubbard

Let's examine the third characteristic that people with a 'Winning Attitude' have, according to Shaun Belding in his book "Win at Work" and this is:

Self Belief

How often do you find yourself working through reasons why you can't do something?

How often do you find yourself looking for excuses not to try something new?

But when you really get down to it, what you are really concerned about, is not being good enough or failing, so you would really rather not try.

Yes, it is very easy to always work within our comfort zone, but how limiting is that? Giving up on yourself and always 'staying safe' means that you will never do anything more exciting than you have done up to now. You will never have a job that is more interesting than the one you have now, you will never visit new places, or have new experiences, because you will talk yourself out of trying anything new, because you might not be good enough - how boring. Is that the life you will look back on and be proud of?

Instead, why not decide right now, that you are going to stretch your horizons and give new things a go? Yes, it will be scary but that is how you know that you are still alive!

I am not suggesting you start really big, but start to tell yourself that you are as good as everybody else, if not better and watch those people that you admire and wish you were more like and gently start to model what they do and, very importantly, notice how you feel when you have stretched yourself and tried something new.

If you are forever attending meetings but never saying anything, because you are worried that people will snigger at your comments, then set yourself a goal to make at least one comment at each meeting you attend from now on, and if people snigger it says more about them than about you. Just look them in the eye and carry on speaking.

If you keep a low profile at work because you are concerned that you might be given a task that you might not feel comfortable doing. Then take your courage in both hands and ask your manager, what one task you could do for them, that would help them with their workload?

Yes, doing these things will feel uncomfortable at first, that is how you know you are stretching your comfort zone and expanding your horizons and that has to be a good thing.

Believing in yourself is not a big-headed thing to do, it is an amazing thing to do, because it opens up all sorts of adventures and exciting opportunities.

Why not ask three friends and colleagues that you trust, to write down 3 statements that they feel describe you and have them sign it and give it to you. I bet you will be surprised by how positively they see you and your capabilities. Keep those statements and whenever you need to 'top up your self-belief' then re-read them.

Self-belief means looking past failures and towards opportunities and ways to make things better for yourself. If you would like to have somebody working alongside you as you stretch your comfort zone, then just get in touch with me at Nicholl Consultancy, I would love to help you.

Have a great time expanding your horizons!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Do you have a Winning Attitude? Part 2

"The way to gain a good reputation,
is to endeavour to be what you desire to appear as"

Let's examine the second common characteristic that people with the 'Winning Attitude' have, according to Shaun Belding's book "Win at Work" and this is:

Understanding Yourself and What's Important

How well do you really know yourself?

Have you ever allowed yourself the time to sit down and make a list of what is really important to you, the sort of things you need to be doing and achieving in order to feel proud?

What are your values, those things that need to be present in your life, for you to be truly happy?

This can be quite hard to do and you need to be very honest with yourself, you will need to recognise your shortcomings as well as your strengths. But once you have a very clear picture of what makes you 'tick', you will then be able to see what needs to be happening in your life for you to feel positive about yourself.

For example, if you decide that your family is really important to you but you find that you are regularly missing out on family outtings or that you are missing out on the things that are important to your children, like sports days or school plays, then very quickly you will feel that you are not 'being true to your values' and you will feel unhappy with your lot. Of course, it is not always possible to just leave what we are doing and rush home, but if you were able to ensure you are at home at a reasonable time a couple of times a week, then you are heading in the right direction.

The more your actions align to those things you feel are important to you, the greater your satisfaction and success and you will ooze confidence and strength of character.

If you feel that it would be easier to work with me as you get a better understanding of yourself and your priorities, then please get in touch with me at
Nicholl Consultancy I am waiting to hear from you.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Do you have a Winning Attitude?

Nothing Positive ever came from a Negative Attitude

In Shaun Belding's book "Win at Work" he identifies 5 common characteristics that people with the winning attitude have:

1. They are positive;

2. they understand themselves and what's important;

3. they believe;

4. they continuously improve;

5. they have passion.

Let's look at No. 1. Are you naturally a positive person? Or do you find that you often speak about yourself in a negative way "I'm not as good as so in so at that", I'll never be able to do that" actually we often speak to ourselves in a way that we would never dream of speaking to our friends and colleagues.

For the next few days, why not be more aware of the way you speak to yourself, and when you find yourself doing it negatively, stop and reframe the statement into something positive for example when you find yourself saying "I'll never be able to do that" change it into "With some research and guidance I will become much better at ..."

Another thing I encourage my clients to do, is keep a 'Praise Diary' we often miss compliments from others or brush them aside, because we are embarrassed, but they are there and we should acknowledge them. So if you start to listen for those compliments and at the end of the day, jot them down in your praise diary, you can look back over them at intervals and this will help instil positive feelings about ourselves and our achievements.

If you need help with your positivity and cultivating your winning attitude please contact:
Nicholl Consultancy, and we would be delighted to help.

I look forward to exploring "understanding ourselves better and what is really important" next time. Have a really positive week.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010


I have a brightly coloured post-it note attached to my computer and it says "Never mistake motion for action" however, even though it is right in front of me, unless I am very disciplined, that is exactly what I do. I can find whole days just disappear before my eyes and I haven't even begun to do what is on my list but I have been really busy doing ...... nothing that is remotely important. Am I the only one?

So what I do now is, before I go to sleep, I decide what I really must achieve the next day, and I am very realistic about this, there is no point in overloading myself, and then the next morning, I go straight into my home office and get going, without even going downstairs and making a cup of tea. Because I use that 'cup of tea' as my treat, once I have got going and done about 30 minutes work towards what I must really achieve that day, I reward myself with a cup of tea. Once I have got going, I find that I can keep going, especially when I start to see results. Try it, it might work for you too.

But if you feel you need support with this, please get in touch with me at Nicholl Consultancy

Monday, 19 July 2010

Welcome to our Blog

Welcome to the Nicholl Consultancy Blog. Here you find useful articles as well as case studies of our work, news and updates.
People are at the centre of everything Nicholl Consultancy does so please get involved with this Blog; interact with it and let me know if I can be of help.

My new website is up and running so please feel free to view it here.