Sunday, April 17, 2011

What do women look for in a dating profile?

Hey, I don't know about the rest of the blogging world but the weather here is amazing today. So this weekends post is courtesy of Starbucks, their free wi-fi and good "franchised evil" coffee.

Anyway continuing the dating theme and following on from previous posts on online dating profiles I thought I'd hunt out the female perspective on things. Specifically what they look for when browsing though adds and what stands out.

So first up we have a friend of a friend, Anna
"First, without being shallow their profile pic. I like well presented man that looks after his appearance, and if it they look comfortable. Shows self confidence. The name they call themselves, there are some funny one's, I stay clear from the ones that say Sexy, god, anything that gives a hint that they might love themselves is a no go or if it insinuates that they might not be confident or fed up with life. No thanks!!
Then in the text bit, must have interest's, know what they want, a job that they enjoy, like to laugh, hopefully like to dance,must be into music. Maybe a bit cheeky. Enjoys talking, and actually is looking for something that will develop rather than "the one".
I am looking for a relationship but want one that develops naturally I suppose rather than looking for one and hoping that is what I will get, just leads to disappointment lol"
...and next Tara
Number one priority: The picture. I think they all have pictures on It's not about someone being super duper looking. It's about him looking healthy, friendly, in reasonably good shape - and not having that "I will massacre you and your loved ones if the date is a failure" look about him. Also, if a guy has pictures of him involved in some sporting activity...big plus. A picture of him with kids (his own, if he's separated, or nieces and nephews) gives the warm fuzzies. A picture of him with a dog - ditto. As long as it's not a picture of him sporting a skinhead, a load of tattoos and nuzzling into the neck of a pitbull...though I suppose there will be a female market for that kind of guy as much as any other.
As far as what he's got to say for himself goes....I must admit that when I'm looking at these dating profiles, the pictures are the most interesting part and I skim through the other stuff. However, I suppose if I were looking seriously I'd pay more attention.

I would say it's probably a good idea to avoid trying too hard for the "I'm different from the other guys" angle. I've had a few whackos send me friend requests on facebook, armed with that "hey baby, I'm that bad boy your mother always warned you about" approach. It's disconcerting, creepy and makes them come across like clueless gimps who are going through the friends lists of friends of friends of friends, and spamming all the women.

Someone who comes across as a sane, normal and reasonable kind of guy is probably going to be far more appealing to most women than Mr Whacky whose profile was put together by a friend who works in the media. It may seem boring, but if you put in a nice picture and create a friendly sounding spiel about yourself then I think it's far more likely that women will make an approach.
From what Anna and Tara have written there are a few common themes and these can be distilled down to a few key tips:-

Tip Number 1 - Use good photos...It shows your not hiding anything and if you include activities, animals and kids then you're onto a winner.

Tip Number 2 - Profile Name... keep it simple straight forward and not a place to advertise your sexual prowess. Again you profile name should tie into your interests and things that differentiate you from the crowd.

Tip Number 3 - Positivity... no one really likes a misery, do they? So make sure you profile is up beat, engaging and talks in a positive way about you and your life. You are creating an impression of someone with a great personality who is confident and has direction so talk in those terms and avoid language that would portray you as desperate or lacking confidence...

Here's an example

"I can't believe I'm doing this, but here goes. My friends would tell you I'm an easy going, funny guy who likes to have fun."
On a first read you might think yeah good an honest funny guy who likes to have fun....mmmmm

  • point 1 - "I can't believe I'm doing this" = I'm so desperate (by my own standards) that I've finally had to resort to online dating.
  • point 2 "...but here goes."  = I'm really not comfortable doing this and I'm a bit self concious.
  • point 3 "..funny guy who likes to have fun" = I can't really articulate what I like doing in life...but it's fun

Tip Number 4 - Don't brag... if you are a tanned adonis, heir to a fortune, talented nose flute player keep it to yourself. If you are genuinely great in an area of your life it is far better to be understated about it than shouting it to the world. You run the risk of coming across as 'loving yourself too much' or just fake.

Tip Number 5 - don't lie - keep it real!

Tip Number 6 - Show, Don't Tell...use words to paint a picture as opposed to merely blurting out uninspiring facts about yourself. You may be thinking, "Well, that's pretty obvious. Tell me something I don't already know." But if you spend some time reading a few online dating profiles, you'll find that many guys miss this opportunity. Just by taking this step, you'll stand out from the competition.

Don't just tell women, "My friends would tell you I'm a funny guy." Why should they believe your friends? Maybe your friends are morons. Instead, why don't you actually write something funny? Show them what your sense of humor is like (in ways that women will find entertaining—not your buddies).

Don't just write, "I like to cook." Paint a picture with words. Describe some of the dishes that are your specialties with mouth-watering detail.

Tip Number 7 - Get feedback! Honestly the best way to write a killer profile is to get people's views on it.
Many dating sites have brave post a link to you profile and ask for feedback. There are a lot of people who'll be happy to help you out.

There you go for this weekend.
Next week I'll be looking at sending that first message... what to include and what not to include.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dating - profile pictures

Following on from Sunday's post about writing a killer dating profile (here) we look today at supplementing this with a cool profile pic.

Now believe it or not profiles with photos get 8 to 15 more views and responces than those with out.
This is especially true for guys who seem to have a reluctance to show the world they're on a dating site.
Try it for your self - pick a free dating website andgo look at the blokes searching for women...more than half have no picture. What does this say about them? Are they just shy? Nervous about online dating? Hoping the wife doesn't spot them? ...or actually are they the elephant man? Seriously no one will want to meet up and go on a date when they have no clue what you look like and with the availability of digital cameras these days there are no excuses!

As a side note the other reason for doing this little bit of research is that it shows you who your competition is...after all love is war, and in war intel is key.

With pictures you have a split second to make an impression, to raise someone's curiosity to want to know more and then check out your killer profile. But as with your personal bio it pays to spend some time planning what photo's you're going to use on your profile.

Again this goes back to the concept of promoting 'you' as a brand and keeping in mind what you are trying to achieve. So the following types of photo are out:-

  • that funny snap of your drunk in a nightclub a few weeks back 
  • that carefully cropped shot of you and your ex...cutting her out of the picture
  • the picture of you 7 years ago on a beach when you looked tanned and trim, before the beer belly and hair loss
  • the one of that celebrity that people are always saying you look like.  

Bin them and don't let them anywhere near your profile.

Ok back to that little bit of research you did on other people's profiles.
Have a look at their photo's...fairly similar shots? Keep in mind that you have to stand out from this crowd (in a good way).

What pictures should I use?

When we wrote the personal bio there were 3 or 4 key interests that we tried to focussed on. These are the things that made you interesting, unique...worth finding out more about. Now when selecting photo's they should complement these activities if possible (tying into the brand that you're trying to establish). If you love surfing - find a picture of you on the beach; if you play bass in a band - get a cool shot of you with your guitar.

The pictures you post should be good quality and you should be clearly seen. Three-quarter length shots or shoulders and head shots work best.

But I don't have any good photo's?
Was Hannibal stopped by the Himalayas? No, he found a way over them!
Ideally I'd suggest going to get a few pictures done by a professional - there are some cheap packages around. Yes it feels weird but ultimately you're paying for their expertise and the results are usually very good.
Good lighting, the right angle and timing the shot makes all the difference.

Alternatively ask a friend to take a load of shots with you. Get them to take a fair number of pictures (20 or so), perhaps on different settings, because not all of them may work well, and because you then have a good selection to choose from. Again think about those interests and choose your backdrop carefully!

Always keep asking yourself what you would want to see if you were a member of the target audience (usually the opposite sex), looking at your profile for the first time, and be critical.

Final touches

If you are good with photo editing it might be an idea to touch them up slightly, just don't go overboard. If it's good enough for celebrities then why not.

Add a border to your picture of the same colour as the hyperlinks on the target site.
This makes the picture stand out when being displayed next to everyone elses and the colour builds the association that the picture is something to be clicked.

Hope that helps.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dating -writing an online profile.


Well I've been off doing some research and it seems the whole online dating thing has lost a lot of it's stigma. Back in the day you'd often see lines like 'can we lie about how we met?' on peoples profiles but no more...on-line dating is now cool, trendy and the place to meet people. As my friend Tess put it "after a few glasses of wine you're not safe to drive...and after seeing some of the guys I've pulled when out I'm not safe to do that either. At least with online dating you get to vet them first and work out if they're nuts while you're sober."

This weeks post are all about online dating - writing that killer profile, picking the best pictures, grabbing people's attention with a great headline...and generally marketing yourself to the best of your ability.

Most dating websites follow the standard
You register with an email address, supply your vital measurements, pick a username, add a tag line, maybe some photo's and finally you get to write a little bit out yourself.

Now often the little personal bio comes all the way at the end and is often at the point where you're losing the will to live and debating if this was such a great idea in the first place. However I'd argue that this is the part you need to consider first and put most effort into.

Here's my rational... Online dating is very much like marketing. You are the product and the people you are hoping to meet and date are your customers. The best selling products in life go beyond just the thing you buy they have a brand - and brands are powerful things. When it comes to your dating profile it is your first chance to make an impression and start building that brand. The personal bio you write is your chance to sell that winning personality and show how witty, charming and down right funny you can be.
For us blokes, we tend to be visual creatures and so just flick through hundreds of pictures until we find the girl we like. Women on the other hand are far more discerning and what is written on your profile will be what  they judge you on - so make it count.

Just a side note - yes this is a generalisation and if you look like Brad Pitt or Christian Bale then no you don't have to have that much of a write-up....but then why would you be reading this if you were (-;

Back to the write up.
Before you go anywhere near registering on one of these sites take some time to plan you brand.
Get some paper and a pen, find a quiet comfortable place and do a little brainstorming.
Note down all the things you like doing - hobbies, interests, work, family, holidays
Next jot a few aspirations you have for the future...
...and finally what are you looking for in a date and where would that date be?

Ok - now circle three to five things that you think are the most interesting or engaging.
These are going to be the focus of your bio.

So lets get down to writing it...

The C's of good communication
When writing anything I always keep in mind the 7 C's of communication. It's a little on the management bull side of things but there are some good principals that are worth keeping in mind....

The 7 C's are:-
  • COMPLETE - take time to write a few paragraphs in your bio
  • COURTEOUS - this seems obvious but avoid any topics or views that might be easily misinterpreted 
  • CONSIDERATE - always thing of the person you are trying to attract while writing your bio
  • CLEAR - avoid text speak or slang, and just write in an easy to understand manner cutting out any jargon.
  • CONCISE - this isn't the time for florid prose, keep it short and sweet - this is to get you chatting nothing more.
  • CONCRETE - mmmmm yeah forget this one
  • CORRECT - keep what you write honest - it's easy to re-invent yourself online and be something you're not. If you're serious about meeting people then keep it real. 
Now not all of these apply to writing a dating profile but they are handy to consider.

Finally to help you write that killer profile here is a structure to follow that might make things a bit easier...
  1. Witty opening - humour is one of the best ways to start a hook them with a catchy line. 
  2. About you - pick off a few of the things from the brainstorming excersise that make you unique. Don't go into too much detail or you'll have nothing to talk about on the first date.
  3. Your aspirations -  Add a few sentances about where you see your life going which helps build the impression that you are someone who knows what they want and have direction
  4. ...maybe fit a joke - again humour always seems to work
  5. What you're looking for - Both in terms of the person you're looking to attract and what the first date might be.
So there you have my quick and dirty guide to writing a dating profile...part 1


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Successful Dating Strategies

Firstly an apology.

Given that I'm a bloke, who has done his fair share of dating women, the following posts are going to be centred around single guys pursuing single girls. It's not a chauvinist thing I just don't have much experience, or inclination, to go chasing after guys. Having said that I'll do my best to cover all angles and I may do a post on what guys go for...we'll see how we go.

So I thought I'd start by sharing a few general strategies that have been used over the years. These may seem a bit counter intuitive but they do work. But with many things in life you have to use what works for you and timing can be everything.

Anyway here are nine strategies for successful dating:

  1. Chasing - ok this is a huge generalisation but in my experience holds a lot of weight.
    Women like to be chased by men!
    Now I'm not talking about the weird stalker pursuing and would never advocate continually trying your luck when a lady has made it clear she's not interested. However if you are a man waiting for a woman to make the first move - well you'll probably be waiting a long time because some other guy will come along and sweep her off her feet.
    Get in the game! Make your intentions known - what is there to lose!
  2. Sex talk!
    Now we're all adults, we all know that dating is a mechanism to weed out a new (hopefully long term) mate. That means that if all goes well sex is going to happen! But the first conversation/date is not the time to find out what her favourite position is or whether she likes firemen or Santa!
  3. No sex before marriage!
    Only kidding...but there is an important point here that follows on from point two. Most women aren't interested in just one night stands (a topic for a future post). If you're serious about finding a long term partner why rush things? Although sexuality is a big part of a relationship, it is not a good foundation on which to build a relationship. If you build your relationship on sex, it will most likely fall like a house of cards.
  4. Don't live in each others pockets.
    Date went well? Been texting and phoning lots? Have you been doing that whole 'you hang up first' thing?
    Chill out! How is a house built? Brick by brick. How have you developed friendships? Over time. Same principal here with dating...less can sometimes be more.
  5. Real relationships need real interaction!
    Texts, emails, phone calls, facebook - these are all great ways of staying in touch with your chosen girl. However the more you get used to chatting via electronic means the more you may feel awkward with each other in person. Plus this stuff is just far more fun in person.
  6. Be yourself!
    Again if you are after a long term partner in life why try and be someone you're not? At some point the real you will shine through leading to an interesting dynamic in your budding romance.
    If you are compatible, you will discover more things to like about each other. If you are not compatible, you will be able to find out sooner rather than later.
  7. Be aware of who you're dating!
    While being true to yourself remember that everyone is unique and different. Ok you might only date carbon copy look-a-likes of your first girl friend, but the girl you're now dating is her own person with her own personality. Give her a chance and don't assume she'll have the same baggage as all your other ex's.
  8. Don't go changing!
    The only person that can really change you - is you; the only person that can change your significant other is them. If at the start they have an annoying habit that drives you mad - well it's always going to be there. You don't get to just pick the bits you like so if there is something that drives you mad then have an honest conversation with yourself.
  9. Have fun!
    Dating is a chance to meet new and interesting people and do fun activities. It's an opportunity for growth and can add sparkle to your life.

There you go 9 tips for successful dating.



Friday, April 1, 2011

Dating it is

Well the poll is closed and it looks like the next topic for my posts is dating and finding the person of your dreams.
Nice choice....and probably the subject I've struggled with most myself - so I've a fair few examples to share.
I've also asked a few female friends to give me their take on the whole dating scene, from online dating to meeting people in bars and even supermarkets...

So I'll make a start this weekend - but as always feedback is welcome.



Sunday, March 27, 2011

Motivation Quotes


To wrap up the whole motivational theme here are a few quotes from some successful people.
Also there's a poll up about what you guys would like next as a topic...enjoy

If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change.
Michael Jackson

I'm different. I have a different constitution, I have a different brain, I have a different heart. I got tiger blood, man. Dying's for fools, dying's for amateurs.
Charlie Sheen

I won't be a rock star. I'll be a legend.
Freddie Mercury

I'm not afraid of death because I don't believe in it. It's just getting out of one car, and into another.
John Lennon

A relationship isn't going to make me survive. It's the cherry on top.”
Jennifer Aniston

My parent's divorce and hard times at school, all those things combined to mold me, to make me grow up quicker. And it gave me the drive to pursue my dreams that I wouldn't necessarily have had otherwise.
Christina Aguilera

A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That's why they don't get what they want.

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
Thomas Jefferson

Your regrets aren't what you did, but what you didn't do. So I take every opportunity.
Cameron Diaz

To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first.

I used to go around looking as frumpy as possible because it was inconceivable you could be attractive as well as be smart. It wasn't until I started being myself, the way I like to turn out to meet people, that I started to get any work.
Catherine Zeta Jones

Try not to become a man of success but a man of value.
Albert Einstein

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no use being a damn fool about it.
W.C. Fields

The best revenge is massive success.
Frank Sinatra

Life is full of risks anyway, why not take them?
Lindsay Lohan

We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers - you can blame anyone but never blame yourself. It's never your fault. But it's always your fault, because if you wanted to change, you're the one who has got to change. It's as simple as that, isn't it?
Katherine Hepburn

With every project you do, you bring out a part of yourself, and it seems to be quite a good way of expanding a person.
Kate Beckinsal

Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.
Oprah Winfrey

When I was a child, ladies and gentlemen, I was a dreamer. I read comic books, and I was the hero of the comic book. I saw movies, and I was the hero in the movie. So every dream I ever dreamed has come true a hundred times...I learned very early in life that: ‘Without a song, the day would never end; without a song, a man ain’t got a friend; without a song, the road would never bend - without a song.' So I keep singing a song. Goodnight. Thank you.
Elvis Presley

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Motivation - Towards and Away From

Previously we've talked about motivation being driven by our internal preferences or external force. Another way to look at motivation is the old analogy of the carrot and the stick.

Things we want and desire that we work towards; or those things we find on some level painful we want to move away from.
These are often classified as 'towards' motivation and 'away from' motivation, or pleasure and pain.

It seems logical and simple doesn't it?

However people are complex things and often motivation towards a positive result is simply masking movement away from a deeper rooted pain.

Towards Motivation
As it's name suggests, towards motivation is all about moving toward a goal. 
If you are predominantly a towards motivated person you will do things for the reward at the end of the task.
Towards motivated people tend to strive to be the best and crave recognition. They are motivated by competition and love targets and league tables.

Away Motivation
Away motivation is linked to pain, which is one of the greatest motivators.
Now we're not talking necessarily about physical pain, it can be physical or have elements of physical discomfort but it might also be emotional or physiological discomfort.
Generally away motivated individuals do things out of fear of what might happen. It often takes an extreme measure to prompt an an away motivated individual into action. Also, once a little action is taken and the situation instantly becomes less threatening that motivation quickly evaporates.
This is characterised by just doing enough to get by.

The classic example used to illustrate towards and away from motivation is smoking.

For the towards motivated person they quit because they want the health benefits and lifestyle of a non-smoker.
For the away from motivated person they are worried about the health consequences of smoking and so stop out of fear.

Many people tend to use one system more frequently than the other, but this does not mean that you should discard your less dominant motivational system. You should make effective use of both systems to ensure that you are harnessing your full motivational potential.

Another example (courtesy of

Away from motivation

The first man had grown up in poverty, never knew what Christmas presents were, never guaranteed that there was food on the table, constantly hearing his parents argue about money. This man had it set in his mind that once he grew up he would not be poor, he would not have his children live in the environment he did when growing up. To him he linked extreme pain to being poor and did everything he could to move away from it. He was a classic case of away from motivation, yet he had great success at what he did. He has successfully implemented this strategy in other aspects of his life as well. During hard times he would catch changes that were happening because for him it was an anticipation of pain. So he took action before it got to that point.
Towards motivation
The other man had a very different mindset. He grew up in a middle class family, had plenty to eat, got nice presents at Christmas and lived what a lot of us would call a good life. He was very much into sports and loved going to school. When he was about 16 years old he made up his mind that he wanted to make his first million by the age of 30, he had a very clear picture in his head of what it would look like, feel like, what it would sound like. The only thing he wasn´t sure about at that point was how he was going to do it. He applied the same technique to this as when he played sports, when he was on the field he knew exactly what it would feel like to score, what it sounded like with the crowd cheering and had a clear image as his fellow team mates gathered around him. He knew the technique behind towards motivation and used it in other aspects of his life as well. He was always looking for now opportunities and did his best at utilizing every chance he got.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

External (extrinsic) motivation

So last time we talked about intrinsic motivation - the things that, as individuals, we just love doing and never put off.

If only life was made up of just doing the things you loved.

But this is reality and so we've all got chores that we need to do to achieve our goals.
...and to spur us on we have external (or extrinsic) motivation.

From the inside out, and the outside in...

Extrinsic motivation comes from outside and gets us to plough on and get stuff done that we don't particularly like. It can take the form of either the carrot or the stick, a reward for getting something done or a punishment for not getting it done.

Now people are different, some happily work for bribes and rewards while others need the threat of something happening to get them going. This often depends on the situation and context. It's acceptable for a drill sergeant to use the threat of humiliation with new recruits and develop a fear of consequence to not doing what they're told; it wouldn't be acceptable if those same techniques to be used in the class room to get students to study. Although I'm sure a few of my teachers certainly tried.

In most contexts positive reward is the best motivator.

Think of your own experiences.
I'm sure there have been times when you've had to work at something you didn't enjoy to reach a goal?
Maybe you hate studying but stuck in there and got the grade you wanted.
Maybe your job bored you but you kept working because you needed the pay.
Maybe you tidied your house, not because you wanted to but, because you had visitors.

What worked best for you?

  • The treat of negative consequences? Failing the exam and having to explain to your parents what went wrong, not being able to pay the rent, people thinking you're a slob
  • Or the rewards that you looked forward to? Being able to go to university or have the career you dreamed of, being able to save up for that new gadget, people loving your home.

Often it's a blend of positive rewards and negative consequences that get us going but you're best placed to know what works for you. Just spend some time in thinking how you've been motivated in the past and apply that experience to motivating you towards your goals.

For me most difficult things that I don't naturally love doing become more bearable when there is something to look forward to. I used to hate running but it was the best way to get into shape so I set some goals for completing 5 miles a week, 10 miles a week, 15 miles a week. Next to each of these milestones was a reward, Oblivion for the xbox, new laptop, weekend break in Munich. I'd carry around a picture of the thing I working towards - then when I just couldn't be bothered I'd look at the pic and it would spur me on.
Having said that I also carried around the worst picture I had of myself in case the positive reward didn't quite work.

With extrinsic motivation, you’ll find that:

  • It might be hard to concentrate – it's easy to put it off and find other things to do.
  • You'll do just enough to achieve the goal and will rarely care about it being perfect.
  • You’d be much more reluctant to do it if there was no reward

Intrinsic motivation is normally either there or it isn't - you either love doing something or you don't.
However external motivation is relatively easy to create around any task or goal.
Here are a few ways of creating that external motivation:-

  • Make a list of rewards
  • Focusing on the goal rather than on the process – the finished result
  • Get some external/public acknowledgement or acclaim 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Intrinsic motivation

Billions of trees have died to produce numerous books on motivation...there are hundreds of them and cover a range of approaches and theories.

The next few posts will be about various theories that might be helpful and of use.
As with anything to do with coaching there isn't a 'one size' fits all approach... pick the parts that work for you.

So where to start?

Intrinsic Motivation
Intrinsic motivation comes from within.
Have you ever played a game all night long even though you knew you had to be in school/work the next day? Or have you just been itching to get home to see if that must have gadget or game has arrived from amazon?

When we enjoy something the task itself becomes it's own reward.

Think of the things you love – perhaps computer games, playing an instrument, cooking, art…
I bet you never willingly put these things off - in fact I bet you make excuses to do these rather than other less enjoyable things?
You never procrastinate over doing things you enjoy.

So the trick to getting things done can be filling your to-do list with as many tasks on it as possible which are things you love. They might be hard, or you might feel a little resistance to getting started – but once you’re doing them, you find them fun.

When you’re engaged on something which makes you intrinsically motivated, you’ll find that:

  • It’s easy to maintain your focus
  • You give it your best effort
  • You do it for the love of doing it not for any reward or money

There is a note of caution...your intrinsic motivation can be subject to your moods
When you’re feeling happy and and upbeat you enjoy life and enjoy getting stuff done... but when you're down anything can be a struggle.

Then there are the tasks that will never be fun....

...and here we have extrinsic motivation to help.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

wow 200 followers

I never thought I'd get to that many followers on this blog!
Thank you one and all from me and Steph.

Now we've covered Goal Setting in some detail the next series of posts are going to be about motivation. Both in terms of identifying our own motivations in life and then looking at how we all can keep ourselves motivated.

After that it's up to you guys and I'll be putting a poll up later for you to chose the direction of the site next and what subjects you would like coaching on.

Have a fab end to your weekend!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

PACER and well formed outcomes

Following on from my last post I was chatting to Steph about objectives and she mentioned a technique she uses in NLP called PACER.

This is a way of producing well formed outcomes that go beyond goal setting

I think that the technique of PACER can be adapted to goal setting and may give you an alternative way of thinking about what you want to achieve.

So here is my quick 5 minute guide to PACER.

P – Positively stated
NLP is very big on positive language with the assertion that the human mind is unable to process the word 'not' at an unconscious level. Ever been told not to do something and then had that compulsion to do it?
So if you're outcome is set in the negative "I am NOT going to eat chocolate", the mind will make the association "I AM going to eat chocolate" and bang goes lent!

When setting a goal or target it should be something that you will work positively toward rather than something you should avoid. "Stop smoking" or "losing weight" set up a negative association wher you may get more success if you focus on the positive benefits you might get out of changing your behaviour...for example "I want to be a non-smoker", "I want to be healthy", "I want to be a size 12", "I want to have more money"

So ask the question of yourself "What do I want instead?" and create a goal or outcome that you can work towards.

A – Achievable
Hey we all want to achieve - right? Why else would be embarking on this crazy journey!
Ask yourself, is your goal achievable?
How will you achieve it?
How will you know when you have succeeded?
How will you measure you progress?

When thinking about achievement focus on the sensory evidence that will tell you that you've succeeded.
What will you see?
What will you hear?
What will you feel?

We are sensory creatures and so success should be sensory!

C – Context
It's all about the context baby!
When defining our outcome we need to base it in our 'own reality' - sounds space aged I know...bear with me.

We want an outcome that is tangible and real, anyone can create a grand goal that is simply not achievable, to stand a chance of success we need to believe success is within our grasp.
Context is about rooting our outcome in the reality of our lives; it is an opportunity to define with whom, where and when you want this outcome and also with whom, where and when you do not want it.

This is also the stage at which to define whether there is a specific length of time that is valid for this outcome.

E – Ecological
Because we all want to be green - right?
Not quite, we're not looking at global ecology here more your personal make up.
It's important to balance what success will mean against how your life currently runs.
If I start training to run a marathon is my partner going to resent me not being in the house as often.
If I lose 3 stone in weight is my significant other going to be threatened by this?
If I smarten up my image and start applying for a new career is my boss going to get suspicious and fire me?

So have a think about who else will be effected and how will they feel?
What might the effect be upon the people around you?

You might find that you may have to give up something in order to achieve what you want.

There may also be underlying unconscious considerations that you may have to consider. Ask yourself these 4 questions when considering your goal/outcome:-

  • If you get this goal, what will you have?
  • If you get this goal, what won’t you have?
  • If you do not get this goal, what will you have?
  • If you do not get this goal, what won’t you have?

R – Resources
"Free your mind and the rest will follow"
This is an opportunity for a good bit of brainstorming around everything that you will need to support you in achieving your desired outcome.
This could be physical things, people, role models etc etc.
You should also ask yourself what you need within yourself including the qualities and skills that you already have or may need in the future.

Whether you are setting goals or outcomes PACER can be a useful tool to make sure you've considered everything in order to make success happen and it's principals can be used in conjunction with SMART.



Friday, March 4, 2011

bigger, better, brighter...smarter?

It's time to get down to business...
It's time to talk battle plans...
It's time to set some objectives to build towards those milestones!

Now objectives are the steps along the road that keep us going in the right direction.
They're the short focussed tasks that build towards our milestones and carry us towards our vision.

But what makes a good objective?

Having spent most of my working life sitting down with people and talking about objectives I'm still a fan of SMART objectives. Now there are an aweful lot of people out there (many of them managers) who have no clue when it comes to setting objectives. Which we can't afford to happen when we're talking about our own personal self development.

So here is my crash guide to setting SMART objectives.

SMART what?
Ok SMART or SMARTER is a mnemonic used in project management that has become transposed over into the performance management and personal coaching spheres.
It's basically a way of making sure that any objective covers the key basic requirements of good objectives.

The first known uses of the term occur in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran. (according to Wikipedia)

SMART is a nmenm...what?
SMART stands for:-

S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Attainable & Ambitious
R - Relevant Realistic,
T - Timed,
...and all good objectives should be SMART...let me explain

We're at the stage where we want a definable objective to focus on and throw our energy into.
Our objectives need to be specific at this stage, detailed, focussed, well defined and concrete.
They need to be easily understood, promote positive action and have a required outcome.
Objectives need to communicate what you would like to see happen.

To help  you get specific here are a few questions to think about:-

WHAT am I going to do? Use strong, action verbs such as conduct, develop, build, plan, execute, etc. This helps your objective to be action-orientated and focuses on what’s most important.
WHY is this important for me to do? Build this towards your milestones and vission
WHO needs to be involved? Need help to achieve this objective?
WHEN am I going to carry this out?
HOW am I going to do this?

To help keep you motivated you often need to see results. 
The easiest way to see results is to track your progress and that requires a way of measuring what you do.
If we measure what we do then we can compare performance and see what works and what doesn't. As is so often quoted, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it! Importantly, measurement help us to know when we have achieved our objective.

We're in the daily detail of changing our behaviour. At this level we want to be setting ourselves objectives that we feel are achievable. It needs to be something you can see yourself doing in the short term, building towards milestones in the future, but very much rooted in the present.
Objectives, unlike your visions, need to be achievable to keep you motivated.
However whilst being obtainable, objectives still need to stretch you just not too far :)

Objectives that are achievable, may not be realistic….
Running three miles a day is achievable but I might not always have time - so it isn't realistic.
But - realistic does not mean easy!
Realistic means that you have the resources to get it done be that skills, money, time, equipment etc
Most objectives are achievable but, may require a change in your priorities to make them happen.

We're picking focussed objectives here so they need to be short term.
Setting deadlines for the objective brings that focus and sense of urgency. If you don’t set a deadline, you will reduce the motivation and urgency required to achieve your objective. Deadlines prompts action.


So think about where you want to get to - your BHAG
Think about those milestones along the way...
...then get down and drity with some specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timed objectives

Sunday, February 27, 2011


So last post I talked a little bit about BHAG's and giving yourself something truly Big Hairy and Audacious to aim for. In the corporate world this would be a vision or mission statement but for us it's more akin to your dream. Where you truly want to see yourself.

But Rome wasn't built in a day, as the saying we next need to break that dream down in to some achievable and recognisable milestones.

So why set milestones?

Heard the saying "a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step".
If you focus yourself on achieving the 1000 miles you could quickly get overwhelmed by the enormity of what lies ahead of you. Conversely if your sole focus is each step you could quickly become bored of the monotonous repartition.

To stay motivate we need that sense of achievement; to keep carrying on we need milestones along the way that are within our ability to reach. They give something medium term and realistically to aim for, while taking you closer to reaching your dream.


So what makes a good Milestone?

  • Aspirational - milestones should be things that you could see yourself achieving with hard work. They need to stretch you but you also need to be able to see yourself getting there.
  • Time - I tend to pick milestones of around three months. I can easily see myself in three months time and it gives me enough time to work around any set-backs etc. I also tend to think of milestones in terms of "right by the end of winter I'm going to be able to run 6 miles on a treadmill".
  • Alignment - probably common sense but your milestones need to support your ultimate goal and carry you towards it.
  • Reward - to underline that sense of achievement treat yourself to something you enjoy as a reward.

Next time we'll get into the detail of setting specific goals that get you to your milestones....



Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Big Hairy Audacious Goal

So how was the meditation? Yeah me neither lol

Following on the goal setting theme of recent posts I thought I'd start out big
…big and hairy
…big, hairy and audacious to be exact.

Why settle for anything else…

Many people in life when looking at what they want to achieve will look to the coming days, months or maybe years.
This is very similar to businesses that set goals and targets for different areas of their organisation for each appraisal or financial year. People tend to focus on the relatively short term tactical goals that can easily be measured and monitored over a few months/years.

That's good... isn't it?
An end point that you know is achievable and that you can see yourself achieving? 

Well yes and no
Let me introduce you to the concept of BHAG the Big, Hairy Audacious Goal!
The term BHAG was proposed by James Collins and Jerry Porras in their 1996 article entitled Building Your Company's Vision. They defined it as….
A true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as unifying focal point of effort, and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines.
—Collins and Porras, 1996

A BHAG encourages companies to define visionary goals that are more strategic, emotionally compelling and truly inspiring.
The theory being that truly great goals pull people together, inspire and motivate them to go above and beyond in order to achieve the BHAG.

A great example of a BHAG would have been in the 60's in the US when Kennedy stood up and said "We're going to put a man on the moon!". It was a vision that inspired people to innovate, push boundaries and literally go further than anyone before them.

Inspiration is a powerful thing and we can apply the principals of corporate goal setting to our personal lives.
Yes we need small achievable steps that can be focussed on in the short term - but you need a truly great eventual destination to keep yourself plodding along.

To achieve great things you need to set yourself great goals!
So shoot for the moon, what ever area of your life you want to change make that goal big, make it hairy, make it Audacious



Saturday, February 19, 2011

Goal Setting... Part 1

Very few people I've met are 100% happy with where they are in life.

Many want to change their circumstances or where they are in life. Often even contented people have aspirations, desires and things they want to achieve next.

The desire for change is ubiquitous.

When you get to the point where you chose to make a meaningful change in your life, or you have to make a big decision, many people draw on their friends and family for advice and guidance.

Now this is only natural. We are social creatures and bouncing ideas off a group of trusted people is often a good place to start. However there is a school of thought that says the bigger the decision around where you want your life to go, the more you should listen to yourself and not others....

Do they really know you? Think about it, how much do even our closest friends and family know about what we think or feel at any given time? We often present ourselves differently to family than we do to friends, even to different groups of friends. The people around us only see aspects of our personality, they don't know how we think or feel, they do not share in our dreams or fears.

Their advice would be coloured by what they think they know about us and by what hey think is in our best interest. This advice might be spot on but then it might be biased.

The only person that truly knows you - is you!

The other side to this argument is accountability.

If you take advice from others when deciding on which path to take from a cross roads you always have someone else to blame if it turns out to be the wrong choice.

For the big decisions it has to be your choice because you are going to live with the consequences - you need to be 100% accountable for the direction you chose.

So down to the crux of the matter - how do you chose the best direction for you?

There is a technique that has been used throughout human history which can be of great help in developing a clear picture of where you want to be in life. That technique is meditation.

Now meditation comes with all kinds of social preconceptions and the thought of shutting yourself away from everything for an hour with nothing but yourself is just plain stupid to a lot of people. I know that's what I used to think. But for really discovering where you want your life to go and really focussing on what is important to you - there is nothing better in my opinion.

How To Meditate
  • Find a place where there are no distractions, free from interruptions and importantly where you feel comfortable 
  • Switch your mobile off! 
  • Sit with your back straight with your hands resting naturally in your lap. If you lie down or slouch there's the risk that you'll just drift off to sleep 
  • Close your eyes 
  • Breathe deep with an even natural rhythm 
  • Focus on your breathing 
Now some people just meditate as part of their daily routine or for fun ;)
But we're here to get some direction to our lives - right?

So once you've got into a relaxed state let your mind drift away from your breathing and onto some questions about your life:-
  • What do you like doing? 
  • What made you most proud of yourself during your entire life? 
  • What is it that you always wanted to do and you never found the time? 
  • What period of my life do I like most? 
  • What period of my life do I like least? 
  • What is it more important for you, you family life or your career? 
  • How much do you depend on others?
    Now many of these questions are similar to those covered in an earlier post. In that post we were exploring the concious minds view and applying a very analytical technique.

    However during meditation we are trying to uncover more of the unconscious view. You should let your mind meander on these topics but try and keep focussed on how you would like to see yourself in the future.  

    Take however long you need and once you have finished spend some time writing down the results.

    From this exercise we will then look at setting some goals.



    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    Book review - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

    There are a lot of books on life coaching, self help, self development and realising personal change... and although many are great reads others are truly awful. So as a pointer to the best I thought I'd include the odd book review.

    First up 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People' by Stephen R. Covey

    A few years back I was on a management course and part of the 'home work' we had to read this little gem, which has became a major best-seller.
    Now Covey's seven habits aren't rocket science they're fairly obvious, simple, yet when you read them it's like a penny dropping from a great hight. His style can be a bit over the top - it's like he's found the secret to eternal life and is so enthusiastic to tell you all about it!! Ok some of it can be really over the top but at the heart of the book he just wants you to take control of your life, stick to your commitments and try do your 'thing' better than you do it now.

    Covey has an interesting section on choosing your own definition of success, which will be the subject of some posts next week. You set your own goals, with the belief that you can change your life.
     It's a simple, logical piece of self-motivation, but it does require you to sit back, analyse your life, and work at change. There are no quick fixes here.

    His seven habits -

    Habit 1: Be Proactive - take the initiative with your life and realise how your decisions determine where your life goes. Any choice has a consequence that you are responsible for - so make the right choices.

    Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind - Self-discover and work out what you value in life. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life.

    Habit 3: Put First Things First - Plan, prioritise and execute your week's tasks based on their importance in your life rather than their urgency. Always making sure that your efforts held drive you towards the goals from Habit 2.

    Habit 4: Think Win-Win - when you're working with others always strive for mutually beneficial solutions. If you respect and value what others are trying to achieve your combined efforts are likely to be successful.

    Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, then to be understood - empathy and listening skills are really important when building consensus and helping influence people. If you can understand another person's view point it's then easier to get your point across.

    Habit 6: Synergize - you can achieve more as a team than you can as individuals so create teams around common goals to drive success.

    Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw - keep renewing your approach, goals and moivation to continue your progress and creata a sustainable long-term effective lifestyle.

    So go and check it out!

    Sunday, February 13, 2011


    Continuing the theme of self awareness I thought I'd write a little about feedback.

    But first a little fun...

    O                                            X

    Cover right eye and focus the left eye on the X
    Starting with your face fairly close to your screen, slowly move away from the screen.
    At some point the O should disappear and then as you get further away reappear. 

    This is your blind spot...each eye has an area where there are no light sensitive cells which we never really notice as the brain fills in the 'hole' and both eyes have overlapping fields of vision.

    It's not just in vision that we have blind-spots.

    Now no matter how self aware you are or how 'in tune' you are to those around you, you do not see yourself as others do. Plain and simple how you come across to others isn't the same as how you think you're projecting yourself.

    So far we've looked at our own view of our selves, but today we'll look at getting other people's feedback.
    One of the most powerful forms of information is feedback on our own actions.John Paul Kotter (born 1947) is a professor at the Harvard Business School
    The Feedback Sandwich
    It's often a trait of very successful people that they seek out feedback from others.
    They realise that they're not seeing the whole picture and seek out other people's view to fill in the gaps

    1. Pick an Area – to get meaningful feedback you need to be specific about what you want. It's no good sitting down with someone and saying 'give me feedback on me...' Pick the area of your life that you are interested in changing, and jot down some questions around it that you may ask yourself (see the last post). 
    2. Identify some Feedback Friends – try to identify 5-10 people on a personal and professional level that you can approach and ask for feedback from. Now we're not looking at your spouse, or boss or your best friends - they should be people you know, who you trust the opinion of.
    3. Provide background - you need to explain why your asking for feedback and give them some context to your request. Although you're interested in specific feedback the first conversations should be about general feedback around your chosen area. You want their general feedback and impressions to help you categorize things you are probably unaware of that you may want to focus on or improve over time.  
    4. Getting the conversation started – you may need to guide the initial conversation so you get meaningful feedback.
      You can start by saying something like “I think I am good at something’s but not strong in other areas and I am hoping you can provide some additional insight for me. In your opinion what do you think I am good at and why?". This gets you of on a positive note, gets the conversation started and gets affirmations of things you know you are good at.
    5. Turn it on its head - next the hard question, you want to find out where you could improve - “Can you tell me in your opinion areas you think I need improvement in or don’t do well and why you think that?”
      Now this is never easy and most people will get really vague in their answers here - but real personal development comes from conversations like this. My tip here would be questioning techniques; if they come back with something vague probe into it, maybe ask for examples. 
    6. Finish on a high - go back to step 4 and start talking about things they think you do well. It is important to end these conversations on a positive note - both for the sake of your confidence and your relationship wit the person giving the feedback. You don't want to be left feeling low - they don't want to end the conversation feeling they've dumped on you.
    7. Thanks them for their time - let them know you value their opinion and thank them for helping you out. Manners cost nothing.
    Now you should have a few notes from their feedback it's important to take some time out.
    Internalise the feedback, cross check it with what you have previously written down about yourself, think about where the feedback came from.

    It takes humility to seek feedback. It takes wisdom to understand it, analyze it, and appropriately act on it.
    Stephen R. Covey (born 1932) bestselling author of, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    Self awareness - questioning (why, why, why, why, why)

    Over the last few weeks we've looked at Myers-Brigs and different personality types.
    Hopefully this has given you an understanding of which type you best fit and some tips for the future.
    It's worth remembering that these are broad categories and the degree to which you fit a particular type can vary.
    For example quite often when I've taken the test I've come out as an ENFP - yet other times it's come back as INFP.

    Taking the test is a snap shot and how you answer the questions can be influenced by what's going on in your life, so they're just a guide to really get you thinking about the person you are.

    So why is all this stuff important?

    Tests like Myers Briggs are a good place to start in building self awareness.

    Knowing who you are and where you are in life is a powerful foundation to delivering change.

    The analogy I always use is building a bridge across a river.
    Knowing yourself and where you are is the one bank of the river
    Knowing where you want to get to is the other bank
    …and the bridge are the steps in life you need to take to realise the change.
    “Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.” - James Thurber
    Another technique for building deeper self awareness is questioning…sounds simple?
    Often when we answer questions about ourselves we give the answer we're most comfortable with, or the one that we think society will approve of.

    Although that initial answer may well be truthful it comes from the layer of ourselves that we present to the world.

    To really understand ourselves we need to dig deeper into those layers to find the root of the answer.

    An example:-

    What type of people do you enjoy spending time with?
    Well...they have to be open-minded people. I really enjoy their company.
    Why do I enjoy being with open-minded people?
    Because then I can explore lots of different ideas. I enjoy searching for answers. And if they’re open-minded, the exploration can go anywhere!
    What do I mean by “exploration can go anywhere”?
    I mean I can investigate all the big questions in life like...Why are we here or where do emotions come from?
    How does being with open-minded people assist me in exploring those questions?
    Well...if they’re open-minded they won’t make fun of my ideas.
    Why is it important to me that people not make fun of my ideas?
    Because it feels like my ideas I don’t like being made fun of.
    Why don’t I like being made fun of?
    Because then I feel shitty about myself.
    Why would I feel shitty about myself if people made fun of me?
    Because they’re not accepting me for who I am!
    Why do I feel shitty if others don’t accept me for who I am?
    Because it means I’m not OK.
    How does others not accepting me mean I’m not okay?
    Hmmmm.... I guess it doesn't have to mean that.

    From a simple question with a honest open answer we have delved into the deeper meaning and touch on the persons values.

    We'll cover behavioural layers and eliciting values in later posts but for now lets look at self questioning techniques, and for now lets focus on questions around who you are and where you are in your life.

    This same technique is also often used in Service Improvement or Root Cause analysis to uncover the underlying reason for problems and is often called "the 5 whys".

    Some examples are:-
    • What do I fear most in my life right now? Why? What would it mean if that happened?
    • When do I feel the most angry or frustrated? What is it about those situations that I feel that way?
    • What is my definition of love? (not Webster’s)
    • What does money mean/represent to me?
    • Do I feel peaceful or anxiety in regards to money?
    • How do I currently earn my livelihood? How did I come to be so employed?
    • What skills have I acquired that I'm proud of?
    • What accomplishments am I proud of?
    • Beginning when I was a child, what are the 10 most significant events in my life? Why did I make them significant?
    • What period of my life do I like most? Why?
    • What period of my life do I like least? Why?
    • What are five of my greatest strengths?
    Each of these are suggested starting questions and it's often worth doing this exercise with a blank pad of paper.
    Write down the question and your answer
    Then read your answer back and ask why?
    Answer that question
    Read it back and again ask yourself why?
    Repeat this until you get down to a point where there is no longer a why.

    Some tips:-

    Be as specific as you can - when answering your questions there are three things to keep in mind...
    Be specific, be specific, be specific!
    Got that? Good - the reason is that a woolly general answer doesn't help you understand your motivations, behaviours and values. The more specific you are in your answers the more of an insight you'll get.

    Be honest with yourself - we can all fall into the self-delusion trap but when you're answering your questions try to bring a bit of critical honesty to your answers. Sometimes it takes a bit of courage to be honest with yourself but the more honest you are the more you will get out....and hell there's no one else around.

    Go with the flow - let your line of questioning take you where ever it takes's ok to take wild guesses and go with your gut instinct.

    Sunday, February 6, 2011

    Personality Types - Famous people

    Following on from the Myers-Briggs test here are some famous people and their supposed Personality Type.

    • Bill Gates
    • Seth Green
    • Conan O’Brien
    • Sean William-Scott
    • Will Smith
    • Sofia Vergara
    • Catherine Zeta-Jones
    • Kristen Bell
    • Cate Blanchett
    • Kirsten Dunst
    • Elizabeth Hurley

    • Terry Bradshaw
    • Sean Hannity
    • Janice Dickinson
    • Sarah ‘Fergie’ Ferguson
    • Margaret Thatcher
    • Sarah Palin

    • Tom Cruise
    • Kevin Federline
    • Vanilla-Ice
    • Anne Hathaway
    • Katie ‘Jordan’ Price
    • Nicole Ritchie

    • David Hasselhoff
    • Chris Brown
    • Jennifer Lopez
    • Leighton Meester
    • Eva Mendes
    • Judy Reyes
    • Denise Richards


    • David Attenborough
    • Clint Eastwood
    • Lou Ferrigno
    • Hugh Hefner
    • Jessica Biel
    • Elena Dementieva
    • Jelena Jankovic
    • Venus Williams

    • Jack Black
    • George W Bush
    • Hulk Hogan
    • Brock Lesner
    • Matthew McConaughey
    • Victoria Beckham
    • Paris Hilton
    • Kendra Wilkinson
    • Serena Williams

    • Oscar Del La Hoya
    • Jean-Claude Van Damme
    • Pamela Anderson
    • Drew Barrymore
    • Cameron Diaz
    • Jennifer Love Hewitt
    • Kate Hudson
    • Britney Spears
    Cameron Diaz Hot Wallpapers, Pictures and Photos
    • Tommy Lee
    • John McEnroe
    • Mike Tyson
    • Usher
    • Jessica Alba
    • Halle Berry
    • Penelope Cruz
    • Zooey Deschanel
    • Angelina Jolie

    • Donald Trump
    • Fidel Castro
    • Arnold Schwarzenegger
    • Ryan Seacrest
    • Judge Judy (Judith Sheindlin)
    • Rosie O'Donnell
    • Joan Rivers
    • Ariana Huffington

    • Ben Stiller
    • Keifer Sutherland
    • Billy Bob Thornton
    • Vince Vaughn
    • Bruce Willis
    • Owen Wilson
    • Hillary Clinton
    • Tina Fey
    • Jada Pinkett Smith
    • Sarah Silverman


    • Jeff Golbum
    • Alfred Hitchcock
    • Colin Mochrie
    • Jim Parsons
    • Ryan Stiles
    • Kari Byron
    • Ashley Olsen
    • Mary-Kate Olsen


    • Pierce Brosnan
    • John Cena
    • Eric Clapton
    • George Clooney
    • Matt Damon
    • Jodi Foster
    • Heather Locklear
    • Julia Roberts
    • Sharon Stone
    • Charlize Theron


    • Johnny Depp
    • Leonardo Di Caprio
    • Vin Diesel
    • Snoop Dogg
    • Bob Dylan
    • Albert Einstein
    • Lindsay Lohan
    • Demi Lovato
    • Michelle Obama
    • Natalie Portman
    • Uma Thurman
    • Emma Watson
    • Rachel Weisz


    • Hugh Jackman
    • Ricky Martin
    • Mike Myers
    • Russell Brand
    • Isla Fisher
    • Heather Graham
    • Jennifer Garner
    • Alyson Hannigan
    • Salma Hayek
    • Audrey Hepburn


    • Danny Devito
    • Robert Downey Jr.
    • Tom Hanks
    • Philip Seymour Hoffman
    • Michael Jackson
    • Christina Appelgate
    • Kim Basinger
    • Kate Beckinsale
    • Monica Bellucci
    • Cher
    • Lance Armstrong
    • David Beckham
    • George H.W. Bush
    • Sean ‘P-Diddy’ Combs
    • Katie Couric
    • Chris Evert
    • Steffi Graf
    • Justine Henin
    • Martina Navratilova

    Personality Type - ENTJ: The Evil Overlord

    ...and finally

    (extraversion, intuition, thinking, judgment...the Evil Overlord)
    ENTJs focus on the most efficient and organized means of performing a task. This quality, along with their goal orientation, often makes ENTJs superior leaders, both realistic and visionary in implementing a long-term plan. ENTJs tend to be fiercely independent in their decision making, having a strong will that insulates them against external influence. Generally highly competent, ENTJs analyze and structure the world around them in a logical and rational way. Due to this straightforward way of thinking, ENTJs tend to have the greatest difficulty of all the types in applying subjective considerations and emotional values into the decision-making process.

    ENTJs often excel in business and other areas that require systems analysis, original thinking, and an economically savvy mind. They are dynamic and pragmatic problem solvers. They tend to have a high degree of confidence in their own abilities, making them assertive and outspoken. In their dealings with others, they are generally outgoing, charismatic, fair-minded, and unaffected by conflict or criticism. However, these qualities can make ENTJs appear arrogant, insensitive, and confrontational. They can overwhelm others with their energy, intelligence, and desire to order the world according to their own vision. As a result, they may seem intimidating, hasty, and controlling.

    ENTJs tend to cultivate their personal power. They often end up taking charge of a situation that seems (to their mind, at least) to be out of control, or that can otherwise be improved upon and strengthened. They strive to learn new things, which helps them become resourceful problem-solvers. However, since ENTJs rely on provable facts, they may find subjective issues pointless. ENTJs appear to take a tough approach to emotional or personal issues, and so can be viewed as aloof and cold-hearted. In situations requiring feeling and value judgments, ENTJs are well served to seek the advice of a trusted Feeling type.

    In Relationships
    ENTJs put a lot of effort and enthusiasm into their relationships. Since their major quest in life is to constantly take in knowledge and turn that into something useful, the ENTJ will try to turn everything into a learning experience. Within the context of relationships, that means they will constantly seek knowledge and revise the rules and definitions of their relationships. They value their relationships highly, especially those relationships which present them with new challenges and stimulate their learning. Such exchanges promote genuine affection and satisfaction for the ENTJ. Relationships which do not offer any chances for growth or learning hold no interest to the ENTJ. As in other areas of life, the ENTJ likes to be in charge of their relationships. In conversation, they are very direct and confrontational, and can be highly critical and challenging towards others. People involved in close relationships with the ENTJ need to have a good amount of personal strength. For those who do, the ENTJ has a tremendous amount to offer.

    Ten Rules to Live By to Achieve ENTJ Success

    1. Feed Your Strengths! Give yourself every opportunity to show others your appreciation of a situation and how you could see it through to a good outcome. Take charge where you can make it count.
    2. Face Your Weaknesses! Understand you have limits too. Your careful world view is not the whole deal. How things look and feel may not concern you, but they concern many others. Try and allow such things to be and learn from them.
    3. Talk Time to Find Out How Others Really Think. You need to drive past your thoughts with others and let their appreciations of a situation reach you at a deeper level. It will then be possible for you to take account of their needs as real world objectives which if included in your ideas will bring greater harmony and quality to life and relationships.
    4. Take Time Out To Let The Whole Situation Speak To You. Don't dismiss those abstract and seemingly hard to understand or bothersome aesthetic and feeling judgments coming from others or from inside yourself. Drop everything for a while, stop thinking and worrying and just relax into those ideas and let them speak to you. Perhaps they can be accommodated, perhaps something is hiding in there which offers a new way
    5. When You Get Upset, You Lose. Your energy and rational understandings are strong assets, but can be very harmful if they turn against you and leave you with nothing but emotions you cannot deal with. Remember that others cannot always be expected to fall into your ways of seeing, and when your drive to make them do so fails you will suffer feelings of resentment and even abandonment. You cannot deal with the world like this. Moderate your ideas, allow others their spaces, and you will grow.
    6. Respect your Need for Intellectual Compatibility Don't expect yourself to be a "touchy-feely" or "warm-fuzzy" person. Realize that your most ardent bonds with others will start with the head, rather than the heart. Be aware of other's emotional needs, and express your genuine love and respect for them in terms that are real to YOU. Be yourself.
    7. Be Accountable for Yourself. Don't blame the problems in your life on other people. Look inwardly for solutions. No one has more control over your life than you have.
    8. Be Humble. Judge yourself at least as harshly as you judge others.
    9. Take a Positive Approach to Differences in People. Don't distress yourself and others by dwelling on what seem to be their limitations. They need you to guide them and you need them to see things through. Try and recognize who can perform the most ably within certain fields outside your own competence. Let the feelings of others become a strength rather than a hindrance to you.
    10. Don't Get Obsessed! Recognize the value that personal world has to you, your friends, your family, your own inner selnse of self worth and life. Take pride in just being a good person and don’t allow external situations to control you. Try to relax and let the moment belong to the best things you can find in others and yourself. Nothing out there is more important than your own happiness.

    Personality Type - ENFJ: The Cult Leader

    (extraversion, intuition, feeling, judgment...the Cult Leader)
    Extraverted feeling types seek continuity through harmonious relationships and collective values. They excel at picking up on the tone of a situation and acting accordingly, adding warmth to a cool setting or turning sour into sweet. They naturally seek to know what people do well, what they enjoy, and where and how they work. They seem to have an infinite number of acquaintances from all walks of life and are always on the lookout for people in need and those who can help out. ENFJs weave and strengthen the collective fabric of social conventions and interactions. Inclusiveness is important and they are particularly sensitive to those who are excluded.

    ENFJs focus on others, feeling a glow when those around them are happy, and troubled when something is amiss. They are natural cheerleaders, often expressing support, gratitude, and encouragement, and heaping praise onto those they appreciate. They take note of what is being done and what needs doing, offering their assistance wherever necessary.

    ENFJs enjoy organizing group activities and tend to take their commitments seriously. In general, they are reliable and do not like to disappoint others. As team players and project leaders, they have a gift for rallying their players, focusing on what is being done right and each member's strengths. They are loyal and they expect loyalty. They carry conversations well, finding common ground with their speaker. They tend to find the correct and gracious way to respond in any given situation, no matter how tense or uncomfortable it is.

    Types with dominant extraverted feeling may uphold a wide range of values, simply because shared values are what create harmony. Some will profess the importance of tough-minded logic, justice and scholarly debate because their environments have these shared values. They tend to adopt the collective values of those in their social group.

    In Relationships
    ENFJs put a lot of effort and enthusiasm into their relationships. To some extent, the ENFJ defines themself by the closeness and authenticity of their personal relationships, and are therefore highly invested in the business of relationships. They have very good people skills, and are affectionate and considerate. They are warmly affirming and nurturing. The excel at bringing out the best in others, and warmly supporting them. They want responding affirmation from their relationships, although they have a problem asking for it. When a situation calls for it, the ENFJ will become very sharp and critical. After having made their point, they will return to their natural, warm selves. They may have a tendency to "smother" their loved ones, but are generally highly valued for their genuine warmth and caring natures.

    Ten Rules to Live By to Achieve ENFJ Success
    1. Feed Your Strengths! Make sure you have opportunities to involve yourself with others in situations where your input is valued.
    2. Face Your Weaknesses! Realize and accept that some traits are strengths and some are weaknesses. By facing your weaknesses, you can overcome them and they will have less power over you.
    3. Express Your Feelings. Understand that your feelings are as important as others are in the overall situation. Without your feelings and needs being valued the best result is not realised, so value and speak to your own feelings as much as you value those of others.
    4. Make Decisions. Don't be afraid to have an opinion. You need to know show others the qualities and potentials you can see are worthy of action.
    5. Smile at Criticism. Try to see why disagreement and discord indicate the differences between people, and use this as an opportunity to make your value judgements useful for growth, because that's exactly what they are. Try not to feel responsible for another’s criticism, but try to hear it and understand the feelings and images it engenders within you. Then you may see a path not only to agreement but to a shared and truly valuable end.
    6. Be Aware of Others. Remember that there are 15 other personality types out there who see things differently than you see them. Most of your problems with other people are easier to deal with if you try to understand the other person's perspective.
    7. Be Aware of Yourself. Don't stint your own needs for the sake of others too much. Realise you are an important focus. If you do not fulfil your own needs, how will continue to be effective and how will others know you are true to your beliefs?
    8. Be Gentle in Your Expectations. It is easy for you to see the value in others, but stressing this too much can drive them away. Try to show that you understand their fears and limitations and lead them gently to see how you feel: lead them gently into understanding and love.
    9. Assume the Best. Don't distress yourself by feeling that your values are lost upon others – they are not. Perhaps it just has to sit with them too. Let the situation resolve itself and never stop believing that love is the true answer.
    10. When in Doubt, Ask Questions! Don't assume that the lack of feedback is the same thing as negative feedback. If you need feedback and don't have any, ask for it.

    Personality Type - ESFJ: The Control Freak

    Next up we have 
    (Extraversion, Sensing, Feeling, Judgment...the Control Freak)
    ESFJs focus on the outside world and assess their experiences subjectively. They largely base their judgments on their belief system and on the effects of actions on people. ESFJs are literal and concrete, trusting the specific, factual information gathered through their physiological senses. 

    ESFJs project warmth through a genuine interest in the well-being of others. They are often skilled at bringing out the best in people, and they want to understand other points of view. They are serious about their responsibilities, seeing what needs to be done and then doing it. Generally proficient at detailed tasks, they enjoy doing little things that make life easier for others. They value tradition and the security it offers.

    Easily hurt, ESFJs seek approval. They take pleasure in other people's happiness. They give generously but expect appreciation in return. Sensitive to the physical needs of others, they respond by offering practical care. As expert people readers, ESFJs often adapt their manner to meet the expectations of others. However, they may have difficulty recognizing the shortcomings of loved ones.

    ESFJs tend to be vocal in expressing their sense of right and wrong. Their value system derives from the external standards defined by their community, as opposed to a personal set of ethics. (This is one of the traits that distinguishes them from their ENFJ counterparts.) ESFJs raised in an environment of high ethical standards tend to display true generosity and kindness. However, those who grow up surrounded by a skewed set of values may develop a false sense of integrity and use their people skills to selfishly manipulate others—particularly if their intuition is poorly developed, leaving them unable to foresee the consequences of their actions.

    ESFJs seek structured, controlled environments, and tend to be good at creating a sense of order. They generally feel insecure in an atmosphere of uncertainty. They value the rule of law and expect the same of others. ESFJs may be less interested in understanding the concepts behind the rules, tending to shy away from the abstract and impersonal.

    In Relationships
    ESFJs are warm-hearted individuals who highly value their close personal relationships. They are very service-oriented, and their own happiness is closely tied into the happiness and comfort of those around them. They are valued for their genuine warm and caring natures, and their special ability to bring out the best in others. They usually do not handle conflict well, and may tend to be very controlling or manipulative. Relationships are central to their lives, and they put forth a great amount of energy into developing and maintaining their close interpersonal relationships. They expect the same from others.

    Ten Rules to Live By to Achieve ESFJ Success
    1. Feed Your Strengths! Let your talent for caring and giving spill out into the world around you, show your gifts to the world. Allow yourself to take opportunities to nurture and develop situations in your home and work environments which bring value for yourself and others. Find work or a hobby which allows you to realise these strengths.
    2. Face Your Weaknesses! Realize and accept that some things are never going to be how you would like them to be. Understand that other peoples need to deal with the world regardless of how it seems. Facing and dealing with discord or differences in others doesn't mean that you have to change who you are; it means that you are giving yourself opportunities to grow. By facing your weaknesses, you honour your true self and that of others.
    3. Discover the World of Others. Don't let yourself fall into the trap of thinking you always know what is right for others. Open your heart to the possibility of understanding that their true needs are something that must be discovered through a recognition that their view of the world might be very different, yet just as valid as your own.
    4. Don’t be too hasty. Try to let things settle before you make a judgement, allowing others to discover the best for themselves while you try to see all the variables and contingencies in a situation
    5. Look Carefully at the World. Remember, things are not always what they seem on the surface. You might need to look deeper to discover the truth, particularly when it seems you are sure of your first quick judgement. There are layers of meaning and truth beneath everything
    6. Try to Let Others Take Some of the Load. By letting others make their own judgements, you are not letting things get out of control, but are validating their own need to be a part of your life. Remember, it is better to guide another to see your point of view than keeping them out of the picture.
    7. Be Accountable to Others. Remember that they need to understand you and your needs too. Express your doubts and difficulties as well as your reasons and let them become partners to your goals.
    8. Don’t Hem Yourself in. Staying in your comfort zone is self defeating in the end. Try to make every day one where you get out and discover a little something different about the world and others. This will broaden your horizons and bring new ideas and opportunities into focus.
    9. Assume the Best and Seek for it. Don't wait for others to live up to your expectations. Every person has a goldmine of worth in them, just as every situation can be turned to some good. If you let yourself believe this, you will find yourself discovering ways to make it true for you.
    10. When in Doubt, Ask For Help! Don't let your fears leave you on the horns of a dilemma or lead you into disaster. If you are uncertain of something or someone then get input from others who have greater experience in dealing with this difficulty.

    Personality Type - ESTJ: The Bureaucrat

    Today are the last posts about Myers-Briggs (phew).
    Covering the last 4 personality types

    The ones that are stuck through have already been covered. 

    First up ESTJ

    (Extraversion, Sensing, Thinking, Judgment...the Bureacrat)

    ESTJs are practical, realistic, and matter-of-fact, with a natural head for business or mechanics. Though they are not interested in subjects they see no use for, they can apply themselves when necessary. They like to organize and run activities. ESTJs make good administrators, especially if they remember to consider others' feelings and points of view, which they often miss.

    In Relationships
    ESTJs are very enthusiastic people who are driven to fulfill their obligations and duties, especially those towards their families. Their priorities generally put God first, family second, and friends third. They put forth a tremendous amount of effort to meet their obligations and duties, according to their priorities. They are dedicated and committed to their relationships, which they consider to be lifelong and unalterable. They like to be in charge, and may be very controlling of their mates and children. They have high esteem for traditions and institutions, and expect that their mates and children will support these as well. They have little patience and need for dealing with people who see things very differently from the ESTJ.

    Ten Rules to Live By to Achieve ESTJ Success

    1. Feed Your Strengths! You have been given the great ability to create logical, ethical principles that transcend personal experience. Allow these principles to be as good as they can be by creating them with consideration for all available data.
    2. Face Your Weaknesses! See your weaknesses for what they are, and seek to overcome them. Especially, resist the tendency to judge too quickly, and remember the importance of considering other people's feelings.
    3. Talk Through the Facts or write them down. You need to step through the facts in order to define good principles to live by. Verbalizing them or putting them down on paper may be a valuable tool for you.
    4. Take in Everything. Don't dismiss ideas prematurely because you think you already know the answer. Seek first to understand, and then to be understood.
    5. When You Get Angry, You Lose. Your passion for your principles is admirable, but becomes destructive when you fall into the "Anger Trap." Remember that Anger is destructive to personal relationships, and can be extremely hurtful to others. Work through your anger before you unleash it upon others. Disagreements and disappointments can only be handled effectively in a non-personal and dispassionate manner.
    6. Be Yourself in Relationships Don't expect yourself to be a "touchy-feely" or "warm fuzzy" person. Realize that your most ardent bonds start with the head, rather than the heart. You expect your actions to speak for themselves to your loved ones. This may not be enough for some. Be aware of other's emotional needs, and express your genuine love and respect for them in terms that are real to YOU. Be yourself.
    7. Be Accountable for Yourself. Don't blame the problems in your life on other people. Look inwardly for solutions. No one has more control over your life than you have.
    8. Be Humble. Judge yourself at least as harshly as you judge others.
    9. Resist the Urge to Control Others. You can't force others to adhere to your ways of thinking. You may think that you know what's best for others, but you really only know how they can best act according to your ideas of what is right. Just as you are entitled to live as you see fit, so are they. Instead of judging and controlling others, focus on using your judgement to create better impartial principles.
    10. Spend Some Time Alone. Encourage the development of your introverted side. You'll find many tangible benefits to becoming a more well-rounded person.