Saturday 15 May 2021

Bullying - Who Wins? Some thoughts for Mental Health Week.


Bullying - Who Wins?  Some thoughts for Mental Health Week.

I usually avoid positing around the Mental Health weeks/days as it is an area that isn’t a specialism for me, although I have had fair amount of experience within it. I briefly share this with you below…

 Personally, I have experienced three periods of diagnosed severe depression, one of which was treated with medication. This was the period when my wife was pregnant and diagnosed with a brain tumour that required an emergency operation. Through these periods I learned I was stronger than I thought, developed an enhanced awareness of when I was starting to experience such anxieties, and developed management strategies to help me cope. These have all worked for me over the years and especially in the last 9-months as I battle with my Amyloidosis and Chemotherapy.

In addition to the above my son, born in 1994, is severely Autistic and non-verbal and another close family member has been on suicide watch with Adult Mental Health Services while also being diagnosed with clinical depression and personality disorders going back to being bullied at school. You can add to this a parent and an in-law with differing types of dementia.

The point I want to pick up on in this Blog is that around bullying and the long-term harm this can do.

 There are many definitions of what a Bully is, it isn’t just the physical aspect of the school playground bully taking pocket money and threatening the smaller kids either. The definition I work with is as follows: a blustering, browbeating person especially: one who is habitually cruel, insulting, or threatening to others who are weaker, smaller, or in some way vulnerable.

I would add to this as well that a ‘vulnerable’ person may not obviously appear so. A display of outward confidence can often disguise a severe vulnerability to the kind of behaviour described above. A vulnerability that results is long term, perhaps unmanageable harm to their mental health.

Here in the 21st Century there is an extension to the above as we now have Cyberbullying. This is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. ... Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. Recently my attention has been drawn to specific case of this involving a group of persons that might not obviously be seen as vulnerable – we can all only accept so much of this activity when it is aimed at us and the indications clearly are that those on the receiving end have been well and truly bullied. I would add that the actions being taken by those on the receiving end of this specific Cyber bullying over a prolonged period is presenting to me as proportionate to the original activity,  showing a high degree of patience and excellent leadership and protection of the team involved.

Now I fully accept Edmund Burke’s observation that “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” However, there is also a need to remember that one person’s evil is often another person’s good; that one person’s freedom fighter is another’s disruptive guerrilla fighter. Add to this any existing confirmation bias that may exist and the harmful comments being made soon lack any degree of justness, appropriateness or perhaps even and true basis in fact.

It is, in my view, essential that blogs, social media comments, articles, video’s etc that target another person or persons remain factual, fair and reasonable. To do otherwise is a bullying and intimidating stance that says more about the person creating the comment than the person on the receiving end. They should also be made without hiding behind a made up or fabricated alter ego. If you are calling someone out on a genuine, demonstratively true, basis why would you need to hide your identity?

The person or persons on the receiving end are entitled to and should challenge such comments that they know to be false; where possible citing actual evidence for why they are falsehoods. This isn’t reverse bullying; this is defending yourself from an attack that is harmful to reputation and, when prolonged, the mental health of those on the receiving end. If you are going to make derogatory comments about a third party you should be prepared to be challenged to evidence them and defend your statements. If you cannot do so simply do not make them. There is an old saying that if you cannot say anything nice then say nothing at all and I believe that to be a fair assessment.

To conclude, although I could go on, given my own health challenges of the last few months I have effectively confirmed that for me if someone intentionally makes hurtful, nasty and harmful comments that they cannot back up that this says more to me about the person making the comments than the person they aim them at.  This is among the worst forms of ‘bullying’, shows a lack of self-respect, let alone a lack of respect for others, and if this is what you ae disposed to do, then I have no room in my life, or my social media feeds for you and those who jump in on your comments. Life is too short for such antics.  Nobody Wins so Be kind or Don’t.

As always comments are welcome, as is sharing of the Blog and I hope this has at least made you stop and think about that reply you might just be about to make.

#BeKindOrDont #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

For further information on #BeKindOrDont search the hashtag on Twitter, Facebook or Linked In etc.


Thursday 26 November 2020

Choosing A Positive or Negative Approach.


Are you part of the Construction Team or a part of the Wrecking Crew?

I have not blogged for far to long and it is my good intention that this will be the first of a re-launch. I say good intent and you, dear reader, will see why in the following paragraphs.

 As many of my Social Media followers will know since August 2020, I have been fighting a condition diagnosed as Cardiac AL Amyloidosis that has required two heart procedures and an on-going Chemotherapy treatment. The latter will, most likely, be with me, until March 2021 followed by some Stem Cell therapy in the summer of that year. This may inhibit my blogging as well as other activities, I will be looking to avoid this occurring. This is a part of my personal Positive Approach for which I will be further drawing on my past and more recent experiences.

As a result of my condition I have spent a 17-day period in hospital and more recently received a DS1500 form. I don’t know what the equivalent would be outside England. This form is to help substantiate my critical illness claim and with applications for whatever state support I may be eligible for.

The Hospital stay gave me much time for contemplation and thought, while watching the outside world via the lens’ of news feeds and social media.  A period that allowed me to begin to formulate a few ideas and preliminary thoughts.

Meanwhile the DS1500 form includes the wording “Extreme high risk of sudden death due to cardiac arrhythmic heart failure. This risk remains high throughout treatment.” This wording tended to rather focus this person’s thoughts and attentions. More so when taken into account alongside the observed actions of others on the global stage and within my social media connectivity. This combination also brought me to revisit those earlier ideas and thoughts that were arrived at and written down while in Hospital. (I took a note book especially for that purpose)

I have now formed the following very clear thoughts that I share, not to dictate what you as the reader or anyone else should think or do, but in the hope that they will simply make you consider things more deeply; so here we go…

“We destroy ourselves as much as others by comments and acts of rudeness, bitterness, anger and negativity.”


“We Build ourselves as well as others through comments and acts of kindness, love, support and positivity.”

There is much uncertainty in the World as we live through the last few weeks of 2020, there is an equal, if not greater amount of angst and fear creating this. Let us not feed this situation, instead let us step back, consider and set aside our personal entrenched beliefs and our confirmation biases.

Our family, friends and colleagues need all the positivity they can get right now, as do we, let’s all be part of the Construction Team and be a part from and rather than a part of the wrecking crew.

That if you can’t say anything nice it is better to say nothing at all is an old cliché, but in the modern World and year of 2020 we could perhaps all benefit with more of that approach. My present circumstances have now led me to the decision that my mental and physical health require a greater balance of positivity over negativity, for mine and my family’s greater good I need to be a bit more selfish in achieving this, so in these coming weeks I will be watching for the positive people and the negative people in my life. Be they ‘real’ or ‘virtual;’ and quietly switching the balance. No big announcements anywhere other than this here; it will just occur and I doubt many will notice or really care and for that matter why should they?

Please stay well, stay safe, stay happy and remember none of us have to attend every ‘fight’ we are invited to. Do feel free to leave any feedback you may wish to.



Monday 3 October 2016

Best laid plans of mice and men!!!

Today I have been reminded not only of the this old saying, but also of the similarly intentioned one by Field Marshall Helmuth Graf von Moltke - The Elder - that goes: ‘no campaign plan survives first contact with the enemy’.

On this day the National Health Service had conspired to influence as many members of my immediate family as it could; my elderly parent (96 years old) was due at the local Dentist for 9:30am, my wife due at Oxford Eye Hospital slightly later in the morning and my daughter at Amersham Hospital for 11:30am. Plus I had a pre-booked facilitation of a meeting with a leadership team for 12:30pm!

A strategy was needed so it was arranged for my father-in-law to take my wife while our daughter would use public transport, sadly alone as her boyfriend had to return to Australia late the night before as his Vise was due to expire, and I would take said elderly parent to the Dentist – all nicely sorted.

I arrived in plenty of time at the Care home, made sure my father was suitably dressed, sourced a wheelchair and we had loaded and finished strapping this into the minibus when a staff member came running out and informed us that the Dentists had rung and his appointment was cancelled.

By this time my wife had already left with her father and my daughter was on the train, proof were it needed that, first contact can indeed blow the plan completely apart!

However it has underlined to me that the important element of a plan, or a strategy, is to build in flexibility and the ability to react to changes in circumstances, to rigidly adhere to a plan, just because it was the original one, is not always the best policy – far better to continuously review, adapt and make appropriate changes.

Consider then what you are doing in your business that is sticking to an original plan that was drawn up before it was deployed in anger and where could this be appropriately altered to bring about an improved outcome for all the stakeholders involved in the activity!

Thank you for reading and please leave any feedback that you wish to share.

Monday 26 September 2016

Beware the Black Holes in Business!

4 Black holes in business to be aware of…

In this Blog I’d like to take a few moments of your time to alert you to something that is quite possibly sapping you of one or more of your resources – Black holes in your business.

A Black hole is simply described as an area of spacetime that exhibits such a strong gravitational effect that nothing can escape from inside it – not even light.

There is a boundary to a black hole none as the “event horizon” the point at which light cannot escape the pull of the hole – often stated as being similar to going over Niagra Falls in a canoe!

By now you are probably asking yourself “What on Earth has such a celestial entity to do with my business”?  Well the answer is that we all encounter Black holes in our business lives and they come in various different shapes and sizes and suck in our resources to a point where it requires a huge amount of determination and raw will power to pull away from them.

Some examples of the Business Black hole are:

The Task Hole: This can be a relevant or irrelevant activity that distracts you from your main purpose of your day, something you prefer to do that allows your mind to trick itself into thinking you are doing something that is more important than it is. These tasks are often plentiful in number and once within your event horizon their pull is so strong that it takes a strong self will to put them to one side and stay on task.

The Information Hole: These are the people that come into our lives and take seek information from us, information that they could get from public sources with just a shade more work themselves. They may be asking for contact details, a date, time or venue for a meeting, or a link to a third party.

They keep coming back with similar requests on a regular basis and before you can spot it happening you are almost acting as an unpaid PA to them and their business. 

The ever-increasing number of requests pulls on our time and can effect our concentration on our own tasks for the day. Many often have a charming personality and we have to really steel ourselves in order to start declining and to override our natural tenancy to want to help.

The Tec Hole: Isn’t modern technology wonderful? Computers, laptops, Smart phones, WiFi, TV on-line at any time of the day! Getting caught in the pull of technology is a wonderful way of having time sucked out of your life and reducing your daily efficiency and effectiveness.

Make sure that you control your smart tec and not the over way around, each time we watch just one more funny animal clip on social media is another few minutes lost earning our living by supporting our clients – avoid being distracted and sucked in!

The Ideas, Information or Skills Hole:
  Perhaps the hardest one of all to avoid and yet, in many ways, the easiest one to spot. Also comes under the heading of ‘could you just…’.

These is where your energy, creativity and/or skills are taken up by someone in need of your commercial service who, for whatever reason, are unable or unwilling to pay for it. They may; seek a ‘one-to-one’ meeting after hearing you at a Networking Group, they may ask you if you could just read through or review something done by a third party, they may have a loooooooong telephone call with you, they may enter into an exchange of e-mails seeking your advice or guidance. In whatever guides this happens they are sucking in your creativity, your skills, your time all whilst preventing you from focussing on potential and actual paying customers.


These are just a few examples, there are more such as the Negativity Hole, and we all need to be aware of them. We also need to set and know our own limitations of how far we will go to help someone and be very aware that we do not pass the event horizon and find we cannot escape from the pull of whatever it is that is draining our energy.

Please now stop for a moment or two and think about who might be impacting on your business/life in any of the above ways and on how you intend to manage that impact – many thanks for reading this Blog, please leave a comment (if you have the time!) and I hope you will drop in again soon.

Monday 29 August 2016

Thinking about more than just money.

Cost – Value – Worth – Investment may not be seen by most as the four horsemen of the apocalypse, however I would submit that they are four words whose wider use is becoming lost in our modern world and whose predominate use today could help bring about a more cynical and negative world, one that is focussed on financial gain.

All four of these words have a range of different meanings and yet today these definitions for each form within our society a virtual, if not actual, hierarchy where, their association with money is what springs, first and foremost, into people’s minds.

However they all have other meanings that are, in my view, far more positive and can bring far more into our lives, if you like a much deeper use than this monetary one and here I would like to challenge you to start to change the current thinking on the use and positioning of these four words – Cost – Value – Worth - Investment

The usually used definitions of this word is brings on negative feelings, these are; to require a payment – to cause a loss, a suffering or a sacrifice, to calculate the ‘price’ of something.

It is my belief that of the four, Cost – Value – Worth – Investment - we should regard Cost as a highly negative word and thus as one to be avoided in our writing and our thought.

This can be the quantification of something as a way of measuring it against a specific unit, often monetary and equally as a way of more subjective observation of what does a certain element add to a work of art, a performance, a speech and so forth.

If we choose to use the latter interpretation of Value we can move away form a monetary dominated developed world and towards a more appreciative and rewarding society.

This word is often linked to the previous one, value. It is often defined as being the value of something, especially in terms of currency. Another definition is that of the sum that something can be bought for – again usually in monetary terms.

The two, far more positive, uses of the word and the ones that I like are;
  • The goodness, usefulness or importance of someone or something, irrespective of financial value or wealth
  • The wealth of a person, group, or organisation or other entity

Both definitions meaning; that extra, or special, something that is brought to by a person, project or organisation to the world and which goes beyond monetary measurement – and quite close to that alternative use of the previous word, Value. Imagine what a powerful tool the two together could be!

Usually today seen as the setting aside of money in some way that it in the future it will produce a greater amount of money. Personally I prefer another definition – that of a contribution of something such as time, energy, effort, skills, knowledge to take forward a project or to develop a person.

Of the four words – Cost -Value – Worth – Investment, I like Investment the most as it is perhaps the easiest to deploy in a non-monetary manner.

Let us make better use of our language, better use of ourselves and as a result avoid thinking and talking about cost, cast this matter aside and believe in other things.

Let us bring Value, Worth and Investment all together and ask where can we add Value and increase our Worth to others by investing something, other than money, in one or more of the following people, charitable endeavours and/or community work?

Thank you for reading and if I have given you cause to think please leave a comment.