24 Carat BOLD

The Standard for REAL Thought Leaders

Thought Leadership daily news now available

Posted by bookmidwife on December 29, 2010

I’m pleased to announce the Thought Leadership Daily – a compilation of daily insights, blog posts and tweets from some of the most inspirational and influential people on my Thought Leadership list on Twitter.

Read it here and become a subscriber for new perspectives and thought leaderhsip every day.

If you would like to be considered for my list of thought leaders, just get in touch and let me know what new and exciting things you are working on. I’d be pleased to hear about it and include you!


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The Sound of Silence

Posted by bookmidwife on November 6, 2010

Yesterday was Art Garfunkel’s birthday.  Of all the Simon and Garfunkel songs, The Sound of Silence speaks to me the loudest.  Perhaps it’s because it’s so ironic.  Or perhaps because in the silence lies the opportunity for people to begin to listen to their inner thoughts.  And yet, there are other things that begin to happen during silent times which we need to remember and consider.

Silence is Golden

We all need a little time and space away from the noise.  Most of us don’t get much time to relax, and when we do, we often find we have lost the skill of listening to our own heart.  So many thoughts race through our heads that we end up replicating the noise of the office, the roads or the Inbox that we were trying to avoid.

Learning to give ourselves private moments of quiet is an art.  I have experienced it in the past, when living alone, on retreat and even while travelling for business.  These days, it seems a little harder to get there.

I am reminded of a special challenge my daughter was set at school.  There was a Sponsored Silence amongst all the 5-year-olds.  It seemed hilarious at the time, the idea of trying to get 30 little children to be quiet for 30 minutes.  We didn’t think any of them would be able to do it, but some did achieve it.  Those that did collected their sponsorship money which went to charity.  Those children who found they were unable to be quiet for 30 minutes are probably our future politicians, lawyers or pop stars.

Although the prize was a tangible one, i.e. money for charity, the real rewards were the rare peace and quiet for the teachers, and a small taste of the beauty of silence for the pupils involved in the challenge.  Will they remember anything about it today, I wonder, and will they be able to re-capture that feeling at will?

Silence is not always Golden

Silence can sometimes have other, more worrying, implications.  For example, radio silence when you don’t know if the other party is safe or not.  The silent treatment given so effectively by a wife to her husband.  The silence of a missing heartbeat when listening to an ultrasound.

In business, silence is not always appropriate either.  When I taught sales training courses very early in my career, many role plays involved being silent and waiting for the customer to speak.  The idea was that the first person to speak lost the game.

However, while the customer (or wife, husband, friend etc.) is being silent, neither knows what the other is thinking.  The silence is only external and there can be a whole lot going on internally.  People can begin to make their own assumptions, start talking themselves out of the deal, or even allow themselves to get distracted and think about something entirely unrelated.  In these cases, a lot can remain unsaid which should actually be out in the open and discussed properly.

I believe that one of the key skills in business, as well as in life, is to know when to speak and what to say that takes the conversation forward.  The real thought leaders that I have been privileged to work with over the years have always managed to find a way to express themselves and bring important new ideas to the table, despite a silent partner or the chatter in their own heads.

Common fears about not knowing what to say, having nothing of relevance to say, and wondering how others will react to what we say, keep far too many great ideas inside people’s heads.  It is never acceptable to remain silent in the face of injustice or when something you say could help someone, comfort someone or even save a life.  Those brave souls who do share their thoughts with others, especially in a book, have realized that the importance of delivering their message must be stronger than those fears, and they break free of the silence, for themselves and others.

Imagine giving yourself a moment of peace where you could discover your truth, and then imagine sending it out to the people who most need to hear that truth.  There are times when powerful voices are needed to disrupt the silence.  And there are people who are not enjoying the sound of your silence as much as they would enjoy the sound of your wisdom.

P.S.  I had intended to post this yesterday, as a tribute to the wonderful Mr Garfunkel.  Recently I have been a bit more quiet than usual because I have been travelling and speaking a lot.  I finally put my thoughts together and decided to send them out to the world.  Therefore, it was a real shock to find I had no Internet connection all day yesterday.  The universe had rendered me silent just when I was ready to speak out…

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Ferrari on the Side of the Road

Posted by bookmidwife on September 29, 2010

On Sunday, I was out running when I passed a red Ferrari parked on the side of the road.  That in itself was impressive enough, but then I saw the front bumper was only about 6 inches from a streetlight, and there was another car parked only 6 inches behind the Ferrari.  The owner obviously didn’t want anyone to be able to steal that car!

It got me thinking.  How many of us have really powerful engines, i.e. potentially revolutionary thoughts and ideas, that we carefully park in a safe place, wedged in between other safe vehicles so that nothing bad happens?  Of course, from this safe place, nothing good can happen either.

I’m sure the red Ferrari is not normally just parked on the side of the road.  When it is driven, it probably turns heads and makes more than a few onlookers quite jealous.  How great would it be to really rev that engine of yours, nice and loud, and make a few heads turn? Where would you like to drive today?

Let me know if you need any help with ignition or fuel for your journey.

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Egg on Tony Blair’s new book but not on his face

Posted by bookmidwife on September 6, 2010

I don’t know what Tony Blair expected when he began his recent book tour, but it probably wasn’t protesters throwing eggs at him.  Blair may be more well-known than many other authors whose books have been released this month, but the mixed feedback on his book proves he is just as vulnerable as every other author.  I think it is childish and cowardly to throw eggs and shoes at someone, especially an author who has taken the time to put their thoughts and ideas together in a book.  And especially an author who has committed to donating all of the proceeds from that book to charity.  But, as I am fond of saying, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.  I don’t think Tony Blair expected glowing testimonials for his new memoir from the general public.  So he knew there was a risk, but he published the book anyway.

One of the reasons many people hesitate to publish their books is the fear of what readers will think.  Fear of criticism and rejection is a reality for most business people and politicians, and the more senior and more successful they are, the more the fewer risks they tend to take in terms of exposing themselves and their ideas to the market.  You could say there is a greater expectation on them, with the spotlight shining on them, and they have more to lose.

But the bold ones get over it and act despite their fears.  As I wrote in 24 Carat BOLD, “I don’t believe any major breakthroughs could ever happen without at least a little boat-rocking or someone sticking their head above the parapet.”  Ultimately that is why some people become visible leaders and others stay in the shadows.

Blair should be used to criticism by now, as it has followed him around since his latter days as Prime Minister.  In fact, he should get the critiques and feedback about his memoirs in perspective and see the situation for what it really is: people probably have a problem with him, not just his book.  The book is a convenient target this month though.

No matter what Tony Blair says or does, there will be some people that will dislike or even hate him and his ideas.  What are his choices?  To pander to those critics and abstain from speaking his mind or telling his story?  I don’t think so.  To soften his message and make it politically correct, hoping to minimise offence?  Again, not really a good option for a leader.

The only choice for a REAL Thought Leader is to share his or her truth authentically and honestly.  Accept that there will be people who do not agree with you, and possibly even some who violently disagree.  Place your fears to one side and remember the reason why you wanted to share your wisdom in the first place.  Focus on all the people you want to connect to and help.  Find a source of confidence and belief in your own message.  And a good dry cleaners who knows how to remove egg stains.

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Free Gift for You as 24 Carat BOLD turns 1 year old

Posted by bookmidwife on August 31, 2010



One year ago, a new book was born.  Sure, we see a lot of great new books at The Book Midwife and Ecademy Press.  But this one was extra special as it was one of mine!  You may recall I launched it with a big splash and gave away $1 million worth of coaching in a very big competition.

To celebrate the 1 year anniversary of the publication of 24 Carat BOLD, I have a free gift for you.  I’m giving away up to a million free copies of my audio program all about Publishing Options.

Get your free copy of the audio program here and help us say ‘happy birthday’ to 24 Carat BOLD!

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The Lilo Effect Will Boost Business in September

Posted by bookmidwife on August 24, 2010

Although summer may appear to be ending, the ‘lilo effect’ will carry on throughout the autumn. In fact, the lilo effect could well be the main driver of increased sales for many small businesses.

So what is this ‘lilo effect’? Well, first, you need to think of a lilo. For non-Brits, a lilo is a float that you lie on in a pool or sometimes in the sea. Many business people get away for a week or more in the summer, and some of them relax on a lilo, soaking up the sun. As they lie there with their eyes closed, their cares start melting away and they begin to feel re-energised. At some point during the holiday, people usually begin to think of new ideas and ways to improve their life and business. They make decisions. They make commitments. They are inspired!

Then they come back to their desks in early September with that renewed energy from daydreaming on the lilo, and they start taking action on their decisions. This is fact, guys, not something I’ve made up. I have been coaching and consulting for nearly ten years, and every September I see this happen. And a large number of other coaches and consultants report similar experiences. It’s very exciting and it’s just around the corner.

If you are the one who was relaxing on a lilo and have returned to your desk full of excitement and ideas, you will gain the benefit from acting on those ideas as soon as possible. You will see things start to happen and that will spur you on to keep the momentum and achieve more. Basically, you can get more done by using this new energy and accelerate your business growth in September. Make those calls, write those articles and blogs, have those key meetings as soon as possible.

If, on the other hand, your clients are the ones who have had a nice holiday in the sun, you will still see a benefit. How great is that? They go away, and your business benefits. How? Well, they’re nice and relaxed from their holidays and now they’re back, they’re on fire! They will be making decisions, calling and emailing like hamsters on speed, and you need to be ready for the action.

September looks set to be the best month for business growth, and all because sensible business people took some time off to lie on a lilo in the sun.

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How hard should you fight for your ideas?

Posted by bookmidwife on May 14, 2010

The UK has just seen an incredible and unprecedented election campaign, culminating in a coalition government between two parties who, if we are honest, couldn’t have more diverse views and policies.  The fighting that went on during the campaign was of the highest calibre, and focused on key issues.  There was a lot of respect for both leaders because of the way they argued their corners.  But they still fought their corners till the not-so-bitter end.

My first thought when I heard they had reached an agreement was ‘How will they ever reconcile their differences over some huge issues?’  I couldn’t see it working.  However, I will give Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg the benefit of the doubt.  Recognising that they are two intelligent and highly articulate leaders who are both equally passionate about the future of the United Kingdom, I am quickly coming to the conclusion that, for all the vehement arguments during the campaign, they both see the benefit in discussion, adaptability and even compromise.

What can entrepreneurs learn from the recent events, and the way Cameron and Clegg are behaving?  The most obvious area to consider is how we should put our ideas across when we are passionate about influencing others and creating change, but others have valid opinions as well.  Having written and spoken for many years on the subject of being vocal and opinionated, I have also seen many leaders – in politics as well as business – take this too far.  When a thought leader has great ideas and shares them widely, they acquire a following, but they also attract naysayers and opponents with differing views.  That is one of the realities of sharing your ideas: exposure to criticism.

Feeling strongly about something and not saying or doing anything about it can cause a great deal of frustration and anxiety, and even depression.  If you have potentially game-changing ideas to share, there is usually a way to do it so that everyone wins.  Every day, I find myself encouraging clients to think about the best ways to get important beliefs across in a way that engages and brings people along with you.  It is an opportunity to build rapport and support for initiatives and thoughts.  It is leadership by influence or what I call REAL thought leadership, and it can be achieved subtly or less subtly.

However, there are times when we need to take a step back and ask ourselves how important it is to keep pressing an issue that is near and dear to our hearts, but one that attracts strong opposition.  I believe we then need to weigh our passion and desire to influence people on that subject, against the value of being part of a bigger picture, a higher purpose.  In the case of the new UK coalition leaders, they seem to have chosen the higher purpose, which can only be good for the country.  As I said, I will give Cameron and Clegg the benefit of the doubt because of the mature way in which they are communicating and considering the big ideas.  And I am glad the fighting seems to have been put to one side, as I, like many others, think the bigger picture and the higher purpose needs to be the main focus in this very challenging time in our society.

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How was it for you?

Posted by bookmidwife on February 3, 2010

Well, January is over. Where did the month go? As we close the first month of the new year (and some would say a new decade), I wonder how it went for you. Did you have a lot of hopes and expectations like many people do around a new year? With the challenges of 2009 – if you had any – were you very happy to see the end of that year and a fresh new page in 2010? And is 2010 measuring up already? Or not?

I’m not sure we can make sweeping statements about 2009 because although the economy affected most people I know, there were still some people in my network who thrived. Still, I think there was a lot more optimism around at the beginning of this year than at the beginning of last year. My question is “Did January meet your expectations?” Are things really better just because we have started a new year?

It’s funny how we assign our expectations to arbitrary things like a new month, new quarter, new year. We are conditioned to expect that things should change, and then that expectation is reinforced by the people around us and the media. I imagine that if you did not have a brilliant January that you might feel like you did something wrong because things were supposed to improve. But perhaps that’s just my imagination playing games.

I believe there is a better way to set goals and expectations, and there is a better way to achieve fulfilment.

1. You start anywhere and anytime you like, so you are not dependent on a specific date. I know people who start a diet every Monday! The more successful folks don’t wait till the next Monday to start again.

2. You decide whether the day, week, month or year is good or not. And the measure of success does not need to be purely financial. In fact, it does not even have to do with results, does it? You can feel happy and successful no matter what is going on. I met a good number of people who portrayed that excellent attitude all throughout the challenging times in 2009, and they stand out in my mind as people who will succeed no matter what.

In case you were wondering, 2010 is turning out to be a better year for me than 2009 was. But things were already starting to improve four or five months ago, and I steadily worked as hard as I could. I’m glad we are into a new year, but mostly because it seems to be giving other people permission to be hopeful. And as one of my clients said the other day ‘We’re 1/12 of the way through this new year, so we should ask ourselves if we are 1/12 of the way toward this year’s goals’. If you are not, don’t worry. Last year I had six appalling months in a row and still managed to compensate for that in the second half of the year. You can start anytime. Why not start today?

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Female thought leaders: we need you to step into the spotlight

Posted by bookmidwife on December 29, 2009

So, why aren’t there more women in thought leadership?  That was the question posed earlier this month in  this blog post by 85Broads and it seems to be gaining momentum on Twitter with multiple re-tweets.

In my blog of September 28th, fresh off the plane from the International Women’s Leadership Conference in Hawaii, , I introduced the question of why we don’t see as many great female speakers on the circuit.

So, what’s the answer?  The conclusion I have arrived at is that there are probably just as many women with great ideas out there as men (maybe even more) but we have been conditioned not to be as bold and vocal as the men.   Most women I meet, even high powered executives and business owners, are more reluctant than their male counterparts to write and speak on controversial topics.  Perhaps it is the traditional female role of harmonizer and pacifier that prevents many women from stirring things up and making waves.  I honestly think we have an inbuilt instinct to keep the peace.  I struggle with it myself, challenging myself way more than my make colleagues before realeasing thought-provoking content.

Things are changing, slowly, but there are still very few role models for us to follow in nearly segments of society minus the arts.  And without the examples, people are often unwilling or unable to go first.

How will things improve?  Slowly but surely, with one amazing female leader after another sharing her insights in a way that inspires and empowers others.  She will articulate new ideas in a fresh and exciting way.  She will share them in the right way at the right time with people that really need to hear them.  And she will be recognized for her ideas and for her boldness in sharing them.

Who is she?  Well, watch this space…  I happen to have a stunning group of powerful female clients at the moment who are all going to create a huge splash over the next year or so.  There is a tremendous energy afoot which will propel some phenomenal female leaders into the spotlight – partly because the market needs their insights so badly, and partly because these women have chosen to step into that spotlight.

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Don’t Re-purpose… PRE-purpose!

Posted by bookmidwife on October 23, 2009

Lately I have heard a lot of people talking about ‘re-purposing’ marketing materials: turning articles into blogs and podcasts, books into speeches, speeches into books and every other imaginable combination. It all sounds good and you should have lots of different materials out in the market, but I have an even better idea. What about planning out every delivery mechanism for your message right from the start? That way, you can ensure that you have exactly the right content for each medium and save lots of editing time and effort.

In nearly ten years of working with clients on writing and publishing strategies, the best example of this I have seen was a young speaker and author who needed to get a lot of exposure quickly. We built a content plan with all of his objectives in mind, and highlighted right on the plan which items were intended to be articles, which were ebooks that stood on their own, and which were the beginning of keynote speeches. In the course of six months, he released 20 articles, a regular blog, three ebooks, one full-length book and several speeches of different lengths. And the best thing about it was that all of the messages hung together and supported each other, since they were part of the original plan. If you already have materials in the market, of course you can look at new ways to package them up, creating extra products and marketing tools. You can also start, wherever you are now, a new plan of deliverables for the next six to twelve months. From my experience, here is the quickest and easiest way to do this:

1. Identify your desired outcomes. Typically these are in the broad areas of awareness, influence and action. For example, do you want people to know about you, sign up to your list or buy something?

2. Give each of the outcomes a timescale. This is really important and it will guide you in terms of what to release into the market, and when.

3. Look at the characteristics of your target market and ask yourself what they would really prefer. For example, if you have a primarily younger market, they usually want more online and fewer offline products.

4. Create a shortlist of products (such as ebooks, articles, books and speeches) that will help you reach the outcomes you identified and are suitable for the market you identified. Aim for two to three under each area.

5. Finally, plan your content. Start with a core message that you want to put out into the market. This message will run through everything you create, so take your time with it and get help and advice if you need it. Then, create lower level messages that will help you drive your main message home. Look at the scope of these messages and determine how much you have to say about each one. The ‘meatier’ ones will probably give you enough material for an ebook or even a slim book in print. Minor ones can be articles, blogs or short podcasts.

Be disciplined and rigorous with your planning, and it will support you as you build your message and your profile as someone who knows what they are talking about. This kind of planning can be done anytime; I just find that it is more efficient to do it as early as possible so you can release the right products and messages into the market in the right way and at the right time. You get a whole lot of efficiency and a fabulous big picture so you know exactly where you’re heading. And you shouldn’t need to spend valuable time ‘re-purposing’ anything.

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