16 Steps to having your own desert island

August 15, 2009

I was clearing out my office today and I found a great little book which I’d picked up on Virgin Trains.  The booklet is called ‘Be inspired by time’ and includes contribution from Richard Branson himself.  I was particularly taken by  his ‘Sixteen Steps…’

  1. Pursue profit patiently
  2. Take account of the variables
  3. Adapt to the situation
  4. Know how you need to do things
  5. Recognise the opportunity
  6. Inspiration can come from anywhere
  7. Research can reveal a way  round ‘no’
  8. Respect others, irrespective of what they can do for you
  9. Reputation is everything
  10. Never gamble on something that you have no influence over
  11. Enjoy what you do
  12. Employ the best people that you can
  13. Support and belief can take you far
  14. Use your money to do things
  15. Make every second count
  16. Begin it now.

Although it has a strong business development angle to it, I think that many of these messages apply to personal life too…. perhaps rather than ‘pursue profit patiently’, it’s more ‘pursue success patiently’.

What do you want to achieve? Maybe you’re already there?

April 6, 2009

I recently came across this story in a book. Although I know it’s done the rounds of the internet before, I feel it’s worth repeating here…..

A Harvard MBA took a vacation to a sunny clime where he hired a fishing guide named Joe to help him to land a Marlin.

Joe was in his forties and lived in a modest house by the seashore with his wife and two children. Every day, Joe rose when the sun was warm and took a swim in the ocean with his family. Three days a week he escorted clients out to sea in his boat and they would fish until they hooked a big one.

The four mornings when he chose not to work, Joe would sit in his hammock and read from breakfast until it was time for mid-day lunch with his wife. Almost every afternoon, he picked his kids up after school and took them on ‘an adventure’ or to his workshop for handicrafts. After a long dinner ‘en famille’, Joe and his wife would walk to a nearby cafe where the locals gathered to discuss issues facing their community.

As the vacationing MBA appreciated, Joe’s fishing expeditions were first rate; Joe was a skilled guide, knowledgeable not only about anglers’ tackle but also marine biology, oceanography, meteorology and other subjects about which vacationers were curious. The MBA saw potential for a big, profitable enterprise.

He explained to Joe that it would be easy to put together a group of venutre capitalists to “build your under-performing business”. Instead of inefficiently taking one client out at a time, Joe could have a fleet of high-tech fishing boats, each accommodating a dozen or more clients. With a little strategic advice, he could branch out into related businesses; perhaps build a high-rise hotel on the beach. Most important, Joe could go on TV and become the marketing face for his business, creating a brand that could be franchised at other sleepy fishing communities: “A guy like you could become a celebrity”. The MBA then delivered the clincher: “When that happens, we have an IPO (stock market flotation) and you get rich!”

After listening patiently, Joe asked, “And what then?”

The MBA quickly answered; “Well, you retire to some nice place on the beach, do a little fishing and reading, and get to spend some time with your wife and kids…..”


What I’ve learned…..

March 24, 2009

A friend recently sent me the following…. I don’t know who it’s attributed to, but it made me think and I thought you’d like to read it too….

I’ve learned…. That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

I’ve learned….. That when you’re in love, it shows.

I’ve learned….. That just one person saying to me, ‘You’ve made my day!’ makes my day.

I’ve learned…. .That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world

I’ve learned…. That being kind is more important than being right.

I’ve learned…. That you should never say no to a gift from a child.

I’ve learned…. That I can always pray for someone when I don’t have the strength to help him in some other way.

I’ve learned…. That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

I’ve learned…. That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

I’ve learned…. That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.

I’ve learned…. That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

I’ve learned…. That we should be glad God doesn’t give us everything we ask for.

I’ve learned…. That money doesn’t buy class.

I’ve learned…. That it’s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular..

I’ve learned… That under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

I’ve learned…. That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

I ‘ve learned…. That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

I’ve learned….. That love, not time, heals all wounds.

I’ve learned…. That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

I’ve learned… That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

I’ve learned…. That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

I’ve learned… That life is tough, but I’m tougher.

I’ve learned…. That opportunities are never lost, someone will take the ones you miss.

I’ve learned…. That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

I’ve learned…. That I wish I could have told my Mom that I love her one more time before she passed away.

I’ve learned…. That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.

I’ve learned…. That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

I’ve learned…. That when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you’re hooked for life.

I’ve learned…. That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.

I’ve learned…. That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

Neat eh?


Take Control to Make Your Life a Success

September 1, 2008

I recently rewatched the movie ‘Miss Potter’ which is the story of Beatrix Potter – the famous children’s illustrator and author.  The challenge for Beatrix was, aside from being a woman in late Victorian Britain, was that her mother’s vision of success was not the same as hers…. being a famous author was not ‘success’ in her mother’s eyes; marrying a wealthy man was.

I’m a great believer in taking control of your life – if you don’t, someone else will or you’ll live a life of regret.  I recently stumbled across the following…. if you’re wondering whether you ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ do something; read this…

‘This life is yours.  Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well.

Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly

Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature

Take the power to control your own life

No one else can do this for you

Nothing is too good for you

You deserve the best

Take the power to make your life healthy exciting and worthwhile

The time is now

Take the power to create a successful happy life’

by Susan Polis Schutz

On being ‘perfect’ and getting everything ‘right’

July 16, 2008

Is your life always ‘perfect’?

Do you always get everything right?

My answer to those two questions is No and No.  I can strive for perfection – but at what cost?  I can invest time and energy in seeking to get everything right….. but will it make me happy?

My experience is that the more we can let go of perfection and the feeling that we need to get everything right – all the time – the happier and more relaxed we will be.

Ask yourself, how much time and energy are you investing in being ‘perfect’ and getting everything right?


The Pursuit of Happiness

June 26, 2008

Is happiness something we just stumble on?  Can we go out and find it?  Is it there, but buried beneath everything else?

People around you can make you laugh, make you cry, love you and care for you.  Their presence can make you feel happy and I for one wouldn’t want a life where I didn’t have people around me who make me feel good. 

But is YOUR happiness really down to other people?  On bad days and dull days, it can feel like that. However, the stronger we can be in ourselves and the more we can create our own internal happiness, the more powerful (in a positive non-threatening way) we will be.  Being dependent upon others for our happiness is a slippery slope which leads to neediness and can, ultimately, push away the very people we feel we need in our lives.

Sometimes unhappiness can be driven by our attempts to make other people happy – how many times have you tagged along and done something because you felt you ‘ought’ to?  I wager that you’ll be a happier person choosing to spend that time on what YOU want to do.

Find some space for you and check out what makes you happy. And if you’re spending too much time trying to make other happy, stop and do something for yourself for a change.

For more information visit: www.sharonlangford.com


May 7, 2008

Are you happy?

According to a study by GfK NOP we are wealthier in financial terms than we were 50 years ago, but our levels of happiness are declining. A statistic which absolutely validates the phrase ‘money doesn’t make you happy’.  The question is what does?

If you’re waiting for happiness, you will wait a long time.  It’s out there … you just need to decide to ‘do happy’, grab it and enjoy it!  If you still need convincing then read on….


We convince ourselves that life will be better after we get married, have a baby, then another.

Then we are frustrated that the kids aren’t old enough and we’ll be more content when they are.

After that, we’re frustrated that we have teenagers to deal with.

We will certainly be happy when they are out of that stage.We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together, when we get a nicer car, are able to go on a nice vacation, when we retire.
The truth is, there’s no better time to be happy than right now.

If not now, when?


Your life will always be filled with challenges. 


It’s best to admit this to yourself and decide to be happy anyway.

One of my favourite quotes comes from Alfred D Souza. He said,

“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life.

But there was always some obstacle in the way; something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or a debt to be paid.

Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my “life”.

This perspective has helped me to see that there is no way to happiness.

Happiness is the way. So, treasure every moment that you have and treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time…and remember that time waits for no one.So, stop waiting until you finish school,

· until you go back to school,

· until you lose ten pounds, 

· until you gain ten pounds, 

· until you have kids,

· until your kids leave the house,

· until you start work,

· until you retire,

· until you get married,

· until you get divorced,

· until Friday night, until Sunday morning,

· until you get a new car or home,

· until your car or home is paid off,

· until spring,

· until summer,

· until fall,

· until winter,

· until you are off welfare,

· until the first or fifteenth,

· until your song comes on,

· until you’ve had a drink,

· until you’ve sobered up,

· until you die,

· until you are born again to decide that there is no better time than right now to be happy.

Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

Author Unknown