Dear Reader

How do you want to be in 2009? At this time of year people are often busy setting new year resolutions, determinations, goals and outcomes for the year ahead. This is great. However, from my experience whether a year is a success or not usually is partially dependent on how I approach it on the inside, i.e. my thoughts, my mood and state of mind. Therefore thinking through how you want to ‘be' in the coming year needs to run alongside planning your goals for the year ahead.

And now for the good news:

  • In November and December when there was so much doom and gloom, both economically and in terms of the various conflicts raging around the world, I decided to start a column in Inspire about good news. The sorts of things that get lost amongst the doom in the media or don't get reported at all. See the right hand column for some good news.
  • Public workshops coming up in January and February – see the bottom of the left hand column for information about the Coaching & Performance Management workshop on 22nd January and Master Your Inner Critic, Release Your Inner Wisdom workshop on 21st February.  20% discount booking deadline for the Master Your Inner Critic workshop has been extended to 16th January.

Best wishes

Melanie Greene

How do you want to be in 2009?

What ‘state' are you in right now? – What are you thinking right now? What are you feeling? Are your thoughts and your mood positive, negative or neutral? How might this affect your performance today? Whether you are working on your own in the office, going to a meeting or needing to make important telephone calls, your ‘state', your thoughts and feelings will have an impact on how effective and successful you are.

Check in with yourself as you progress through each day and ask yourself whether your thoughts and feelings are going to help or hinder you right now?

‘Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.' Anais Nin

What mood, state or energy do you need to be in? – Different things require different states to successfully carry them out. You might need different energy levels to write a report, coach a team member, present to prospective clients or carry out a disciplinary meeting.

Think about the main tasks and activities that you need to carry out in your job to achieve your key objectives this year. What different states would be an ideal match for you to successfully carry them out?

‘Energy is the essence of life. Every day you decide how you're going to use it by knowing what you want and what it takes to reach that goal, and by maintaining focus.' Oprah Winfrey

What is in your circle of influence? – Yes, I know, I keep on coming back to Stephen Covey's Circle of Influence and Circle of Concern, but I think it is one of the keys to staying positive in 2009. When we focus on what we can directly influence: our thoughts, mood, our actions, decisions, our communication with others, we start to feel motivated, positive and able to influence things around us. When we focus on what is in our Circle of Concern, which we have no influence over, we feel like we are banging our head against a brick wall, we get demoralised and find it difficult to have the enthusiasm to do anything.

What is in your Circle of Influence that you are going to focus on in the coming months?

Do you believe you will be successful? – Why are your beliefs important?

If you believe it will work out, you'll see opportunities. If you believe it won't, you'll see obstacles.' Dr Wayne W Dyer

Our beliefs can become self-fulfilling prophecies; they have a profound effect on how we pursue our dreams and goals, how we approach challenges and obstacles along the way and how persistent we are in the face of setbacks. We all know of people or have read inspiring stories about people who have, despite enormous challenges or against all odds, succeeded in fulfilling their dreams (see right hand column for an example of this). Was it their skills and knowledge that set them apart, was it the amount of effort they were prepared to put in or was it their determination, their attitude of mind that made them drive forward, no matter what?

Think about your beliefs with regard to the coming months. What do you believe about …

  • Yourself – do you see yourself as resilient, positive, successful, determined or fearful, pessimistic, stuck in a rut, a failure!
  • Your goal, desired outcomes – do you see them as realistic and achievable or impossible to achieve? Do they inspire you or leave you feeling overwhelmed? One of my client organisations has set three targets in terms of sales this year. The first is the ‘must achieve' (which happens to be lower than 2008 as they are being realistic), the next is what they would like to achieve, and then there is the WOW goal, which would be amazing if they achieved this.
  • The world around you – do you see the world as a hopeless cause, do you see the current circumstances as just a blip that will be overcome or do you see the positive things that are happening around the world, how people are pulling together in difficult times?
  • Other people around you – are you feeling positive about their ability to perform, to rise to the challenges, to support you in what you want to achieve? Or do you believe that they are not capable, not able to deal with the pressures they face?

What positive, empowering beliefs would it be good to hold to support you in your activities in the coming months?

‘Each of us makes his own weather, determines the colour of the skies in the emotional universe which he inhabits.' Fulton J Sheen

Take time out to develop yourself – find new and exciting ways of working

Coaching & Performance Management - Thursday 22nd January 2009

This is organised by Oxford Brookes University and open to anyone who wants to learn how to coach and develop their staff and effectively manage performance. Click here for more information or email Melanie on

Master Your Inner Critic, Release Your Inner Wisdom - Saturday 21st February, Kidlington, Oxon

This programme is based on my book and includes a one day workshop, a copy of my book, and two follow up coaching emails to assist you in putting your learning into practice.  Click here to email me for more details about the programme.  20% discount booking deadline for the Master Your Inner Critic workshop has been extended to 16th January.

To order a copy of my book Master Your Inner Critic, Release Your Inner Wisdom, click here to email me for an order form. £8.99 plus £1.00 UK P&P.

And now for the good news ...

At the end of November, the Sunday papers were full of the terror of Mumbai, unrest in Thailand and Congo, cholera in Zimbabwe and the worsening economic crisis. And probably when you read this in January it might be even worse! So it is easy to feel that there is nothing positive happening in the world.


However, I spotted two stories that I found positive and hopeful:

Quadriplegic woman to sail around Britain – Hilary Lister, 26 became wheelchair bound at the age of 15 and discovered sailing afterwards. She operates the boat by using ‘sip and puff' technology, which controls the sails and tiller via a computer. She said ‘sailing came along when life didn't seem worth living any more. Within seconds of being on the water, a light switched on inside me. I knew that I had found what I was going to do with the rest of my life'. I found her story so inspiring. If she can do this, there should not be anything stopping us from achieving our dreams, other than our own doubts and fears. As the book says: ‘feel the fear and do it anyway'.

‘How the beat of your feet can generate power' – this is about how engineers and scientists are finding ways of capturing the energy created by our footfalls and using it to power lights. They are also using the same technology on pace makers to keep them charged by the beat of a person's heart – how amazing is that? It also means that they don't need to be replaced on a regular basis.


If you hear something positive, pass it on…

I think these were the only two positive stories that were in the paper that day, so they could have easily been missed. I was thinking that if we all start to look out for the positive stories in our communities and/or in the world at large and tell others about them, we can spread hope rather than doom and gloom.

If you have any positive stories that you would like to pass onto others, then let me know and they might end up in Inspire.


One great source of positive news is Positive News, a quarterly newspaper. Click here for more details. I will be drawing on some of their articles in the coming months to pass on a bit of positivity.

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