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Do your flowers smell?

Not if you don’t smell them!

The saying I use often with my business coaching clients is “It’s always later than you think – so please smell the flowers along the way”. Even though I press this home, sometimes it’s hard to take my own advice. Smelling the flowers along the way has become so much more important to me over the past few months.

If the current crisis has taught me anything, it’s the absolute reinforcement, first and foremost, of the priority of family, friends and being human. Being a Human Being and not a Human Doing!

Being someone in the total lock down category, I am so grateful for all the support offered from people I do not know. We have seen the sacrifices being made by our first responder NHS workforce, our police and fire brigade and other critical workers. I have witnessed personally the selflessness of neighbours helping with shopping and supporting people they didn’t know ten days ago.

We have seen some of the worst side of people as they ignore the lock down rules and jeopardise the elderly, frail and vulnerable in their families and communities. Thankfully, these are few and far between.

A vast majority of us are having our humanity tested and we are proving worthy.

I have always tried to “smell the flowers along the way” and I’ve not always been successful at it. However, I have been a lot more successful than many of the business leaders I coach and, for this, I am grateful. I’m not a believer in a work-life balance which, by its definition separates work from life. It also assumes a pivot point in order to balance. So, you are one side or the other. I find this a difficult concept to believe in. I have always thought of it as a blend or a meld of life priorities. Not a linear time bound system but a universe of infinite possibilities where time is not a dominant factor.

I am finding it energising to have more time than normal to enjoy three elements of my life than matter greatly to me.

1.     To focus on my family, making sure everyone is safe and well, and thinking about what our future priorities are and what we want the future to hold for us.

2.     To be able to continue to offer my help, guidance, coaching and mentoring support to business leaders who are having every ounce of their resolve and resilience tested to the extremes.

3.     How I can continue to fully deliver on my objectives for both 1 and 2 above, without sacrificing either for the other at any point in time going forward. Having time to work on me is a great benefit here.

My focus is now moving towards what, as a family, we want to decide are our priorities.

Let me know what has the current situation taught you about how you want to be as a human being going forward? What’s really important to you and how are you going to blend your life so that you can create a life of meaning, gratefulness and value? A life that allows you and your loved ones to smell the flowers along the way? I wish you a safe and healthy passage through these strange and troubled times.


Kick Start Your Calm

Do you wish you could be calm in every circumstance you find yourself in? Do you wonder sometimes why you can’t? What if you could kick start your calm whenever you wanted – when would you use it first? What difference might it make?

It is often said that the difference between top performers in stage, screen, sport, business and life is the gap between their ears. The six inches of grey matter that we all have and all use differently. What do they do differently that helps them rise above the crowd of equally talented and skilled competitors?

They know how to kick start their mindset into rational calm as and when they need it. Some call it focus and some call it “being in the zone”. What do you call it? The difference between a positive, calm and focused mindset and a negative, stressed and wide-angled mindset is two things. Firstly, it’s in how you trigger your calm response in a flight or fight situation. Top performers switch on the right electro-chemical signals that take them to that calm and focused place. They do this both mentally and physically. You can see them with their physical routines and you can feel their mental focus. Secondly, they have learned that using their trigger effectively gives them the edge they need and so the feedback loop to their trigger gets stronger and more compelling.

This doesn’t apply to only top performers it applies to you and me; to Mums and Dads; to Teachers and Doctors; to A-Level students to the Sunday Football Under 10s Goalie; to everyone in every walk of life. We can all develop our trigger to start our calm and focused process. Use it to complain to the waiter, use it for that tough conversation at work, use it for simply feeling good about yourself.

There are many ways you can develop your trigger and there are many great books and courses on how to do this. I prefer to call it a Calm Enabler and alongside my entrepreneurial activities, I have been working for over 10 years with my buddy, Kevin Laye, to bring an easy, simple and rapid calm enabler to the general public. It can take seconds for an instant need to a few minutes for a more sustained requirement. You can find it at or if you prefer a non-digital enabler, invest in one of the many courses that you can find online.

I hope you find this useful. Remember, your life is a series of choices. If you can choose to be positive or negative…why would you choose negative? Create your calm enabler today and start living the life you want for yourself and those you love.

Steve McNulty