Chi-chi Nwanoku has a very interesting story as to how she came become an internationally renowned double bass player.
Nwanoku, the eldest of five siblings from hardworking Nigerian and Irish parents, fell in love with playing music at an early age. At seven years old, whilst round a neighbour’s house, Chi-chi heard someone playing the Boogie Woogie 12-bar blues and insisted she be taught the song. Every day she’d return to play until in the end, the neighbours wheeled the instrument to Chi-chi’s house and said she could have it as a gift! Her talent and determination were obvious and Chi-chi’s dedicated parents worked overtime to pay for piano lessons.
Concurrently, at the age of 8, Chi-chi was spotted by an athletics coach and started training as a 100-metre sprinter. She describes the feeling of running fast as being ‘free as a bird’. And Chi-chi was fast – excelling in the sport, she ran for Berkshire competing at national level. So good in fact, that qualifying for the 1976 Montreal Olympics was…
Reviewed by Kirsty Perrin on 12-03-18
Care to Dance?
Have you ever noticed that in general, we British are pretty bad at either taking a compliment or at fending off sniping remarks by negative people? We do what the Winning Edge calls the ‘justification dance.’ It’s a funny concept really when you think about it, this notion that for some reason it’s necessary for us to justify our success or good points as well as to feel the need to justify our actions and choices, should someone disagree with them or maybe have nothing better to do than make a throwaway negative comment.
There are two types of justification dance; firstly, to avoid the “embarrassment” of success and the feeling your good fortune somehow disadvantages others, we often counter generous remarks from positive people who are recognising and genuinely praising our achievements by answering in a self-deprecating manner. Whilst this is very humble and noble, your self-esteem deserves for you to accept praise and you should be positive to ensure a strong sense of self-worth. There is no reason not to accept people’s kind and positive comments but…
Reviewed by Kirsty Perrin on 08-02-18
There’s a Moorish Proverb that says: ‘He who fears something gives it power over him’ – turn this on its head and ask yourself – ‘If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you try?’
This is such a powerful mindset to be in and the opportunities that present themselves could be limitless… Often it is the fear of failure that holds us back from trying new experiences. For example, you may delay or put off going for that promotion or applying for a new job because you’re worried about a knock-back; maybe you’re putting off parenthood because you’re worried about the kind of parent you might be or the unpredictability of it all… It could be a new skill or hobby you’re thinking of learning but anxious you won’t be able to master.
So, what is behind this fear? Our imagination is a powerful choice driver which we employ, knowingly or not, when we make decisions and it can either hold us back or propel us forward. When approaching a new challenge or opportunity, 95% of people use their imagination to limit their growth – they imagine all the things which could go wrong, as opposed to imagining…
Reviewed by Kirsty Perrin on 10-01-18
Crank up your Mental Thermostat
Yes, we are currently experiencing another cold snap but it’s not that kind of thermostat that I’m referring to – it’s your mental thermostat that may need cranking up several notches…
The Winning Edge concept Mental Thermostat refers to your ‘normal’ setting in life i.e. what you know and what you are familiar with such as your everyday behaviour, habits, responses etc. We call this setting ‘normal’ and with your Mental Thermostat, you too have a ‘normal’ setting that you operate at every day both consciously and subconsciously. However, how often do you challenge what your ‘normal’ is?
You may remember the lottery winner Michael Carroll who won £9.7 million in 2002 at the age of 19. He was a refuse collector at the time and after winning the fortune, he professed he wasn’t going to live an elaborate lifestyle and would put his criminal past and anti-social behaviour behind him. However, within months he was committing crimes…
Reviewed by Kirsty Perrin on 12-12-17
‘What’s your normal?’
Is this even a question you’ve given any thought to? It struck me this morning, as I went around to the passenger side door to climb across to the driver’s side because that door had inexplicably jammed, this was one of those silly things which had become my normal. Ridiculous but normal.
The door had jammed about a month ago. I’ve kept meaning to book the car into the garage but life takes over. Only it doesn’t just take over – I let it; clearly there are far too many things I would rather do than to make a simple phone call to fix a date to take the car in. Yet every day, it’s far easier for me to clamber across the passenger seat, to the driver’s side. Bonkers!
It’s a bit like my front door. We sanded it down in the summer then put the primer on and that’s how it’s been left for three months now. Every day, I walk in and out through that door, roll my eyes…
Reviewed by Kirsty Perrin on 10-11-17
‘Ask and ye shall receive.’
Are you ready for the key to getting whatever you want in life? Brace yourselves… You just have to ASK. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? So why don’t more of us ask when we want something – a job promotion, a date, a discount, a lift somewhere, assistance and so forth… Fear of rejection.
If you get a ‘no’ response when you ask for something, what has changed? Nothing. You didn’t have it before and you’ve not got it now but at least you’ve asked; you certainly won’t get if you don’t ask.
This fear of rejection is often disproportionate to what we’re asking for. We see a fab TV in a department store. It’s on offer but you’ve been doing your homework and it’s been on sale for a while, the price is higher than you want to pay but you really really want it. You could approach a sales assistant and chance your arm – asking for a bigger discount…
Reviewed by Kirsty Perrin on 13-10-17
‘For Pete’s sake. For your sake. For all our sakes.’
Last week, after reading a particular news story, I felt incensed… Apparently, according to the Royal Society for Public Health, as a nation we’re being ‘hoodwinked’ by businesses into purchasing unhealthy and bigger food and drink portions, through ‘up-selling’. For example, whilst buying a takeaway hot chocolate you may be asked: “Would you like a large? Would you like cream with that? And marshmallows?’ At this juncture, you would think that through free will, if a standard cup of hot chocolate was still all that we wanted without the ‘upgrade’, then we are all perfectly capable to say ‘No thank you’. Oh, but nooo, apparently, this isn’t within our ability and businesses ‘have a certain responsibility’ not to try to pressure people to purchase more.
Surely, they’re not pressuring people though, they’re simply asking a question, expanding our range of options. Do businesses not have a right to try to make more money…
Reviewed by Kirsty Perrin on 13-09-17
‘Another man’s shoes…’
I watched a programme recently called The Week the Landlords Moved In. Tenants of two houses move out for a week and their landlords move in, to experience what it would be like to live in the properties they’re renting out.Peter and Marc are a father and son team who own a self-made property business worth £7m. They’ve obviously worked hard to get where they are but perhaps with 40 properties, may have lost the personal touch. They moved into Linda’s 2-bed flat and had no idea about the extensive mould problem. Initially when she’d alerted them to it, they had installed a unit but the cost of running this was exorbitant and barely surviving on her income together with housing benefit, Linda had resorted to not putting her heating on to offset the cost. No heating exacerbated the mould and damp problem. It was a vicious circle…
Reviewed by Kirsty Perrin on 06-07-17
‘The Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth’
I was late for work this morning and I had nobody to blame but myself. But then that’s always the case isn’t it? In the main, we can’t blame anyone else for our tardiness, mistakes, decisions or choices, only ourselves but I’ll come onto that…Everything had been running smoothly this morning and I was feeling fairly pleased with myself, which is always a bad sign… As I walked out to my car, one of my neighbours, Sarah, came out of her front door and both said ‘Hi’. I get on well with Sarah and we help each other out by taking in deliveries, putting the bins out and that kind of neighbourly thing. Sarah’s Mum is quite poorly at the moment so I asked how her treatment was going. I learned that things aren’t good so I knew straight away, this wasn’t going to be a quick exchange of pleasantries – this was going to be a conversation…
Reviewed by Kirsty Perrin on 12-06-17
‘Over three decades and still winning!’
In 1984, Richard Jackson and Barry Stiff were like-minded individuals who possessed a fascination with what made some people successful and others not – and what does success mean anyway? Both had experienced some personal and business challenges and initially they wanted to find the answer to their question mainly for their own benefit.
Having spent some time interviewing both famous and many not-so-many famous people who were successful in their own fields, there were some common traits and characteristics that emerged. They spoke with psychiatrists, neuroscientists and psychologists to ensure their information and research was firmly rooted in science and the two partners of Mancroft Training, as it was then called, codified all their research and distilled it into a personal development programme called The Winning Edge.
When Mancroft Training was first formed back in the 1980’s, personal development was a relatively new concept in the UK – it was seen as a more Americanised approach to training and was given a wide berth. Certainly, setting up a company in Norfolk, that focused…
Reviewed by Kirsty Perrin on 10-05-17
‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again’
The second weekend In April sees the Masters golf tournament take place – the first in the calendar of the men’s major golf championships; yet again, this year didn’t fail to deliver another nail biter. If you stayed awake to watch the final rounds taking place in Augusta, you were richly rewarded with a play-off that had you on the edge of your seat.
After playing professional golf for 18 years, 37-year-old Sergio Garcia finally won his first Major tournament and fittingly did so on what would have been his hero and mentor, Seve Ballesteros’s 60th Birthday.
It’s been a rocky road for Garcia. When he first turned professional, everyone had high hopes for him. In 1999, he came a close second to Tiger Woods in Garcia’s first US PGA Championship. However, over the course of the following 17 years, with 73 appearances at majors and four times the runner-up, Sergio looked destined to forever be the bridesmaid and never the bride.…
Reviewed by Kirsty Perrin on 12-04-17
‘The Art of Persuasion’
Buying a car is always fun. You know you’re never going to win because if you buy new, the minute you drive off the forecourt, you lose a chunk of money straight away; if you buy second-hand, you’re never quite sure if you’ve got a bargain or a turkey…
At an event recently, I got chatting to a guy who works for a used-car dealership. He fully acknowledged the reputation his profession often has and said in some of the places he’s worked, it’s justified. He said the way managers encourage sales tactics is sometimes shocking and to then see this put into practice makes him wonder why he’s in the job, until eventually he found a reputable business to work with. He said it’s a window on the world to view the rich tapestry that makes up the human race.
David, the guy I was talking to, was very savvy about the buying process and said something which not many salespeople seem to realise –that people think they buy with their logic reasoning but decisions are always based on emotions.…
Reviewed by Kirsty Perrin on 13-03-17
‘Strong belief triggers the mind to find the how’
When faced with a challenging or taxing problem, whether a solution is required in the immediacy or over a period of time, an open mindset is key. You don’t need to know how you’re going to find the answer, you just need to have belief you will.
Faced with a crisis, our fight, flight or freeze response can come into play, depending on how intense the situation is. Have you noticed that when feeling anxious and stressed, finding a solution to a problem seems to elude you? When tense, we’re generally in a negative state and our brain becomes in a way, closed off thus finding creative solutions is much more difficult or even impossible. When relaxed, we have a strong, positive belief we can find answers to problems; the brain is mobilised to seek & present solutions to our conscious mind.
This year’s Super Bowl is a prime example. The New England Patriots played the Atlanta Falcons and with only 20 minutes of the game left, the score was 28-3 to the Falcons. In fifty previous Super Bowls, the largest deficit to overcome to win…
Reviewed by Kirsty Perrin on 09-02-17
‘Check-up from the neck up’
We naturally tend to hibernate at this time of year. Post-festive season, many have over-spent, over-indulged and are so over it that nights in are a welcome addition to the diary. Even if a night out is on offer, despite the social secretary saying ‘yes’, the chief finance officer says ‘no’. So, we stay at home and amuse ourselves by perhaps bingeing on a box-set, doing those admin jobs we’ve been putting off, settling down to a good read or maybe going to bed for an early night.
This more minimalist approach to activities means we quite often go back to basics – there is less rushing around, more quietness and we have more time to consider what’s going on between our ears. I relish these winter months. It’s my head’s version of hygge – I hunker down and enjoy the cosiness and quiet, determined for it not to be interrupted with a multitude of pulls on my time. It’s the time of year for a check-up from the neck up – sorting priorities in a personal, professional and work sense and figuring out how they can be achieved …
Reviewed by Kirsty Perrin on 10-01-17
‘I think, therefore I am’
I came across a story the other day of a teacher, Chen Miller, who is a special education teacher from Israel. With great patience and determination, Miller transformed one of her pupils from a very angry, destructive and frustrated little boy, to one who was open to learning and who placed his trust in this person who believed in him.
Everyone else had all but given up on this boy – teachers, the headteacher, even his parents who had all told him he was ‘disturbed’.
By repeating one phrase daily to her pupil: “I know you have a big heart. I know that you’re clever. I know that you’re a good boy,” Chen Miller helped to change this boy’s self-image – the simple repetition of these words helped him to see himself differently.
If you tell someone enough times they are stupid, if they are vulnerable they will start to believe it. They question why else would they be told this if it wasn’t true? Men and women in domestic abuse situations are often held ‘captive’ because of not just the physical side…
Reviewed by Kirsty Perrin on 12-12-16
‘Trumped to Victory’
The shock success of Donald Trump in the US Presidential election has left many reeling. I watched much of the through-the-night coverage and as events unfolded and the results of each State count came in, it became apparent that Hillary Clinton was not going to be the first female American President. Instead, a man who has never previously held an office in US politics nor served with the military, is now President-elect.
Hillary and the Democratic Party have gone off to lick their wounds and no doubt a post-mortem will be carried out as to how Trump could win so convincingly, not to mention significantly.
Love him or loathe him, Trump had the ear of the electorate. Gone are the days when experience trumps (if you’ll pardon the pun!) sound bites. Despite Hillary’s wealth of political experience and even with Trumps’ recent scandals highlighted in the media, his rants about a variety of issues struck a chord with the voters. Yes, he was outlandish and brash but he said.…
Reviewed by Kirsty Perrin on 09-11-16
‘Sense of Direction’
We have two motivators which are ‘away from’ known as fear motivation or ‘towards’ which is desire motivation and these motivators may be different for various stages in your life. Understanding what is driving your focus will help you to understand your thoughts and how you can harness them to be the best you can be.
Take the sales cycle for example; typically for the average lacklustre sales person it goes something like this… Sales targets are issued and everyone considers what they need to do to achieve the magic figure but more importantly, their focus is worry and anxiety and trying to avoid failure. So at first, they’re fired up, contact prospects and begin doing what they need to do to reach those targets. Then there’s a bit of lull. Salespeople typically take their foot off the gas around the middle of the month confident they’ve done a bit to make headway and thinking there’s still plenty of time to do more work on it, besides, they’re probably thinking, the adrenalin …
Reviewed by Kirsty Perrin on 12-10-16
‘Just One Cornetto – Give It To Me’
Attending a networking event recently (don’t groan – sometimes they can be really useful to attend!). I met someone who had just started working as a salesperson. Kate absolutely believed in the product, the only trouble was, she didn’t believe in herself – her ability to clinch the deal… Admittedly, the role was a change in career direction for her but Kate explained she wanted a change, had come across this product and believed in it so wanted to play a role in making it a success – sounds all very Victor Kiam (“I liked it so much I bought the company!”). I admired her bravery in embarking on a new career, seeing something and going for it.
Kate explained how she would send her prospects detailed information about the product but when it was time to make the follow-up call, she dreaded it – in her head, she had concocted a scenario of being turned down with all manner of excuses – this was all before she’d even dialled their number…
Reviewed by Kirsty Perrin on 09-09-16
‘Mind over matter’
There is evidence to show simply by imagining yourself doing a particular exercise you can make your muscles stronger – great news for coach potatoes out there, bad news for the gyms. Well, maybe it isn’t quite as simple as that (I wouldn’t pack the lycra away just yet then, more’s the pity) but techniques such as visualisation and motor imagery can most certainly help you get stronger by thinking about the way you are exercising.
It’s all about understanding the power of our thinking. Motor imagery is the process whereby an individual rehearses in their mind a given action and it’s widely used in sport as part of a holistic approach to an athlete’s training. For example, we’re slap bang in the middle of the Olympics so there are no doubt thousands of athletes who’ve used this method as part of their preparation. As well as visualising their event and the way they want it to turn out, specific and focused imagining of the power of their bodies, can also lead to strength gain…
Reviewed by Kirsty Perrin on 12-08-16
‘May-be it’s time for a change’
As the BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg commented, if Jeffrey Archer had sent his publisher a manuscript for his latest novel which included all the twists and turns of the last week or so in British politics, the publisher would have said it was far too unlikely a scenario to be believed and sent him back to the drawing board…
First we have the drama of Brexit, then Boris pulls out of the leadership race and everyone wonders what Gove’s ‘got on him’. Then there’s the three horse race between Theresa May, Andrea Leadsom and Gove but Gove drops out due to the fact Leadsom and May get more MPs’ votes than him. Then just as everyone is preparing for a nine-week leadership contest, Andrea Leadsom drops out and May is to be the new Prime Minister in 48 hours… I don’t think anyone had quite caught their breath after Brexit…
I can only imagine what was going through Theresa May’s mind in those 48 hours – my goodness did she need to ramp up her…
Reviewed by Kirsty Perrin on 12-07-16