Last weekend, I had the pleasure of performing at Mill Rythe Holiday Village on Hayling Island. Now I don’t perform at many holiday camps, in fact this is only the second one I’ve done, although I did perform a “Mind Magic” show at the Sensatori resort in Crete for a season, many years ago. In Crete I had a different support act every week and one of my favourites was the amazing Diva of Magic – Romany!
So, imagine my delight when I arrived at the resort last Saturday to find that we would be sharing the same bill again! The room held about 500 people and was packed. I’m pleased to say the show went very well and a great time was had by all.
Even better, I managed to persuade my lovely wife Trudy to come along and do some filming. Despite recording conditions not being ideal, she did a great job and I have been able to edit the resulting footage into a new showreel. Although the sound quality isn’t fantastic, I think it gives a fair indication of the fun, interaction and gasps of astonishment that my show invariably generates. Please check it out and feel free to share.
I try to do at least one country walk each week. I love the open air, the smells and sights and the mental “re-boot” this activity gives me. It is also a motivation for me to reflect on what I am doing and to develop new routines and ideas.
It was while walking last week that I had a kind of “aha” moment that I thought I would share….
I was climbing a fairly steep hill and three quarters of the way up, the top still seemed a long way away. Then I stopped for a breather and turned around. As I did, I immediately noticed how far I had already climbed. In fact, I could see where I had started my walk, way off in the distance! It struck me that there was an analogy about motivation to be had here..
I know that in business we are often encouraged to focus forward, looking towards our goals and not to think too much about what has gone before. However, like on my walk, I think that occasionally looking back, we can see how far we have come. We can see how much we have improved, often over a very short space of time. This makes you feel good and that really anything is possible and, provided you put the work in, you will always get results.
We can pretty much anything we set our minds to
I truly believe that we are capable of pretty much anything we want to achieve. But sometimes we are put off by looking at how far we have to go and how much we have to do to get to our goal. At these times, when we are feeling like we are never going to get there, perhaps by looking at how far you have come, you can see that you have already achieved loads, and that can give you the impetus to keep going.
Even if you are just starting out on a new venture and you can’t look back at that, look at something else you have achieved in your life. It could be something as simple as learning to drive a car. Remember what it was like to first get in the car not knowing what to do and it all seemed so difficult, and now you don’t even think about it. As Woody Allen said “80% of success is just showing up!” To me this means that as long as you keep plodding away at something, you will improve. It might take a long time, but you will get to where you are going. Although the goal may seem a long way off – take a look at what you have achieved already and take strength and comfort from that to give you the motivation to keep going!
This week I was at a rebranding/launch event, performing my show for 140 clients, potential clients and the press. I really love this type of event, where I get the chance to incorporate the company’s branding, core values and messages into my presentation. One of the day’s main themes was transformation and hopefully, by the end of my show I had “transformed” an audience of unbelievers into believers!
Also on the bill was a motivational speaker who was truly inspirational – Steve Cunningham
Steve lost his eyesight at the age of 12, but he battled through what must have been very difficult times to achieve what can only be described as an amazing catalogue of successes. In his talk, Steve takes the audience through his journey from despair to success along with video clips of him in action.
Over the past 40 years, Steve has played for the England Blind Cricket Team, captained the English Blind Football team in the World Cup, holds the World speed records for land and sea and became the world’s first blind pilot – and he also plays golf with a handicap of 14!
Steve is living proof that it is your attitude that holds you back and with the right mindset, anyone can achieve miracles.
Check out the videos and the full story on Steve’s website here, but if you are looking for a motivational and inspirational speaker, I can think of no-one better.
In another of my regular postings about friends of mine who I think event bookers should be aware of, I am pleased to introduce my very good friend Nigel Mead!
Nigel is a brilliant magician, whether working close-up or on stage and is also very well respected in the TV world as an experienced advisor for many TV magic shows. A few years ago he was the mentor for the scientist turned magician Kevin McMahon on channel 4’s Faking It.
But the real reason I wanted to mention Nigel in my blog was because of his tremendous skill as a compere…
Whether it be an awards ceremony, roadshow or a conference, Nigel is your man! Unflappable, funny and just so damn nice, Nigel is the ultimate professional and would be able to cope with anything thrown at him. One of the main skills of a presenter, host or compere is the ability to think on their feet and adlib when things don’t go according to plan. With his magic skills and likeable personality, Nigel is a very safe pair of hands to ensure your event is successful. Have I mentioned he is a nice chap too? Nigel was one of the first professional magicians I ever had contact with when I myself went full time. He was very helpful and knowledgeable (even though he is younger than me) and gave me lots of tips and helped me on my way.
Check out Nigel’s showreel and check his website out here
Happy New Year and I hope that 2018 will bring with it everything that you want…
This is the time of year that I look back at 2017 and see what went right and what went wrong. I also look forward and think about my plans for the year ahead.
Lists, lists, lists
Last year saw my introduction of the Stress Busting Workshops and these have proved very popular. More and more companies are coming to realise that proactive stress management is the way to go. One of the tips I share in the workshop, particularly for those who stress about having too much to do, is to use lists as much as possible. I was interested to watch a video blog from a fellow performer and trainer who talked about how stressed he got about cooking the Christmas Dinner and how his potatoes turned out all mushy and Yorkshire puddings cooked to a crisp. Now I am a list maker supreme – I literally write lists for everything! I think there is a great sense of satisfaction when you tick each item off as done and it certainly makes planning and time management an easier task. So, I took about an hour to make a comprehensive timetable of exactly everything I had to do and printed it out and taped it to the cupboard in the kitchen. Sure I got plenty of ribbing from my kids, but the meal went exactly to plan and I had plenty of time to sit with our guests and chat without getting hot and bothered. Of course, because I cooked, I got out of the washing up 🙂
There are people who I like to think of as “emotional vampires” – you know who they are. They moan, complain and constantly find the negative in everything. Whenever you speak to them they almost literally suck all of the good feelings and happiness you have away and leave you depressed, angry and drained. Do yourself a favour and try and spend as little time as possible with this type of person and instead surround yourself with people who are positive, supportive and contribute to your well being.
New for 2018
So, what is new for 2018? I seem to be booking in a lot of conferences, keynote speaking, trainings etc where I am being asked to create some bespoke elements to the presentation or show. This is great and something I really enjoy. The workshops, both the Stress busting one and the NLP workshops are going from strength to strength. I am also working on a brand new routine which is going to be brilliant – can’t say too much at this stage except that it involves a video of me interacting with the audience and reading minds with a hilarious final surprise!
The Wisdom of Yoda
A couple of weeks ago, I went to see the new Star Wars film at Pinewood Studios. This is a great venue to see films (it was built so that Cubby Broccoli, the producer of the Bond films could see the daily rushes). It is a small cinema with about 100 very plush seats and no-one using their mobile phones! It used to be a private members only cinema, but now anyone can book – you can check it out here. The Star Wars film is great and whilst watching it, I caught a lovely phrase uttered by Yoda (do your best Yoda voice here) “mmm Failure the best teacher is”. This is so true – any time things don’t go according to plan, you have not failed – you have instead gained very valuable information on what to do differently next time!
That’s it for now but I’ll be back soon with more news, random thoughts and also some great entertainers to introduce to you.
I’ve mentioned many times the benefits of having a proactive stress strategy – one where people don’t have to share their worries, where they are not made to feel that they are weak, can’t cope or inefficient. A stress workshop which is fun, cost effective and interactive which gives all of the attendees loads of exercises and strategies for managing their stress and preventing the reoccurrence of familiar stress patterns.
The stress workshop also changes the way that you think about stress, allowing you to see it through fresh eyes for what it is and why it is causing anxiety. This alters the way that the attendees deal with stress on a day to day level, helping to create a motivated, productive and healthy workforce. Less lost days through sickness due to stress and a happier team is surely a result that every company wants…
Special offer for the Stress Busting Workshop!
At the end of the workshop, the attendees normally go away with some course notes and MP3’s of a couple of mindfulness exercises (sent to the company to distribute). However, for any bookings made between now and the end of the year, every attendee gets a free CD with these exercises on, as well as a brilliant stress relief hypnotherapy track! The Hypnosis track is over an hour long with beautifully soothing background music along with powerful subliminal suggestions to eliminate stress, improve sleep and leave the listener refreshed and ready to face the trying situations that we come across in our day to day lives. This could be the best Christmas present you will ever get your employees!
The workshops can be for any time this year or next but must be booked before the end of this year to take advantage of the offer.
For more information about the Stress Busting Workshop, click here.
Get in touch now to arrange the workshops for your workforce for a stress free start to the New Year!
Just a quick post to tell you about a fantastic show I saw on Saturday at The Woodville Halls, Gravesend.
Sixth Sense by Luke Jermay
Luke is, in my opinion, one of the best mindreaders in the World. With a style like no other, Luke has been creating and performing incredible feats of mind reading for many years, as well as being an advisor for Derren Brown, Dynamo and Criss Angel amongst others.
In this intimate show of over two and a half hours, Luke demonstrates his amazing skills, revealing the innermost thoughts of the audience, often causing gasps of astonishment. The audience at the Woodville Halls studio theatre was entranced and came out all thinking one thing – this man really can read minds!
I happen to know Luke fairly well and have seen his show a couple of times now. But I am always blown away by it and can honestly say that there are quite a few parts of the show which have me completely flummoxed! His interaction with the audience is at times warm, sometimes cocky, invariably quirky and always fascinating. I don’t think you will ever see another performer quite like him. I don’t know why some TV producers haven’t snapped him up, but perhaps it is because he is totally uncompromising in his performance. Luke is an artist in the very true sense of the word.
There are only a few more dates left on his current tour – you can see when and where he is performing here.
If you can’t get to see his show this time around, then make a mental note to catch him on his next tour and I can guarantee you won’t be sorry.
It struck me recently while speaking to HR directors at various companies that whilst many now have a Stress Strategy in place, they mostly tend to be reactive. There may be a helpline to call, or someone that you can talk to when feeling under pressure or stressed and these are to be applauded. However, very few companies have a proactive stress strategy…
One of the problems with reactive stress strategy is that it relies on a couple of assumptions..
That people know when they are stressed
They are able to admit they are stressed
They know who to talk to
They are comfortable talking to a stranger
For some people, the mere mention of the fact that they may be stressed will cause them to clam up as they may feel that this implies that they can’t cope with their job. For some (particularly men) they may feel it is a sign of weakness and so will ignore all the warning signs and refuse to get help.
The other problem is that whilst talking to someone may help rid them of that particular stress related problem, it doesn’t help them to cope when something else happens that causes them stress.
How many days of sickness does your company lose through stress?
This is why I believe that a proactive stress strategy is essential in any business. This involves giving people techniques that they can use to de-stress (often mindfulness based), creating an “anchor” to help them when stressed and also powerful re-framing ideas that can turn around the way they deal with their everyday problems.
I run a 1 hour Stress Busting Workshop which is suitable for up to 30 people where they will learn all of the above and more. As a proactive stress strategy it has the following benefits:
Cost Effective as it suitable for up to 30 people at once
Easily rolled out for the whole workforce
No-one has to admit they are stressed
A relaxing and fun session that everyone will enjoy
It gives everyone the strategies to cope with any type of stress before it happens, whether at home or at work. At the beginning of the session the attendees are told that this workshop won’t take away the causes of stress. Instead, it will allow them to manage their own stress levels and re-structure the way they think about stressful situations. It will also give them powerful techniques that they can use at any time they are stressed to calm down. One of the most important exercises taught is a meditation technique that they can practice at home for 10 minutes a day. This will increase everyone’s resistance to stress and could also lead to increased productivity at work. Each attendee also gets an MP3 which they can use at home of this exercise.
Do you have more than 30 people in your workforce?
If so – I am more than happy to provide a free taster workshop for up to 6 people so that you can try it out and make a valued judgement as to whether it would be suitable for extending to the whole workforce.
I was recently reading a book on psychology when I came across this resonant phrase, coined by psychologist Karen Horney. She posited that people have two versions of themselves. The “real” self and the “ideal” self, where the person is continually disappointed because their real lives don’t match up to the lives they imagine they should be leading.
It struck me while reading this that the phrase is as appropriate (if not more) in this day and age. We are constantly bombarded in the media with unrealistic goals, and being tempted and teased by images of what we should look like, what we should have and what we should have achieved. This causes discontent and a feeling of being unfulfilled. This in turn can lead to stress and in some cases financial and relationship problems as to attempt to get what we feel we “should have” we spend more than we can afford.
To me, the biggest concern is that by constantly thinking of what we should have, we are in danger of ignoring the most important thing and that is what we have now. I feel that all of us would benefit from taking some time out to appreciate the present moment. After all, time is our most precious commodity – once a moment is gone, you can never get it back again. So, instead of thinking what “should be”, think of “what is” and appreciate that. It is raining and cold – instead of thinking “I wish it was warm and sunny”, perhaps stand outside in the rain for a few moments head raised to the heavens and appreciate the marvel of mother nature and the benefits that the rain gives us. Then go inside and warm yourself up with a cup of hot chocolate.
Let’s replace the phrase “the Tyranny of the Shoulds” with “The Serenity of Reality”.
Look at the world around you and see the positives, appreciate the beauty of it, smile and laugh often. Mindfulness exercises are brilliant for this, as one of the key principles behind Mindfulness is becoming aware of the “here and now”. Accepting things as they are and being fully focussed on the present, putting aside past failures and future uncertainties. Try stilling the hundreds of silly thoughts running through your head and creating a moment of inner peace. A “mindful” walk can do wonders for you – not thinking about anything except the feelings of walking and your surroundings. A small moment of meditation to brighten up any day.
Have a lovely day – not worrying about what “should be”, but rejoicing in what is.
For more information about my Stress Busting Workshop click here
Ok, so you have the Christmas Party venue sorted, the food organised and the booze bought….
Do you feel something is missing?
Walkabout entertainment is a great option at any Christmas Party. But, what to choose? It can be so difficult in this internet age to be sure that the act you’ve booked is as good as their website says they are. It is so easy to get some great photos taken and a video starring your friends who say how marvellous you are. Suddenly you get a magician who looks like the next dynamo and when he turns up at your party, is barely able to shuffle a pack of cards!
So, to help you sort the wheat from the chaff – here are a few friends of mine who I have worked with over the years who I heartily recommend for any Christmas Bash:
Best Christmas Entertainment Ideas
three options here as they are all so good that I can’t choose one over the others