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I never really noticed how often I am leaving old skills behind and picking up new one.

Recently I have been offering free sessions on how to record, edit and host a podcast for networking mummies [http://www.networkingmummies.com/]. For business owners, being able to reach potential new clients with a voice rather than text, podcasting is a great way of doing this.

But how do you learn something you know nothing about? Research, google and ‘act as if’ you can learn it.

6 months ago I knew nothing about podcasting, now I am not only podcasting but have just released my first Audio Coaching programme using a digital download service. All of this started by me askng one question. “What do I need to know in order to podcast” and then taking action with the answers.

So what can you do with the [often free] services available on the web. We hear so much from iPod marketing about “there’s an App for that”, but there is also usually a free website to help you along the journey of finding new ways to get things done.

For podcasting I use Audacity and podbean (please google them).

Just because you haven’t done it yet, doen’t mean you can’t do it. All it takes is to ask the question HOW and then search for the answer.

http://www.darrentoms.com/products.html for my Audio workbook

My daughter is about to start her last year in primary school. As a confident 10 year old it is amazing to see how she has developed over the years.

From a baby who was totally dependant on parents for her survival to a young lady who is blossoming with a wonderful spirit and attitude to life. She attends a local private school which I scrimp and save for to give her the best start I could give her in her education. Soon she will be taking exams to see if she get’s into Grammar School or not.

She has just been made headgirl for her last year and this in itself makes me burst with pride over what my little girl has achieved.

As I have always said to her, it’s not about the winning, but it is about WANTING to win. “Go out and give it the best you can” I always say to her.

So last Friday, it was my turn to feel this approach. It was the School Sports day and that can only mean one thing… The PARENTS RACE.

I was sat down watching the kids go through their races, knowing all too soon I would have to make that choice, will I enter the race or sit quietly and watch others do it. I had entered the previous year and had suffered for days after as my legs wondered what the heck had hit them. It had been 24 years since I had sprinted 100 meters and my legs showed their disapproval by refusing to work properly for 4 days after.

Since leaving school (and my last sprint)  I have been a regular gym goer, done kickboxing, achieved blackbelt in Karate, but nothing could have prepared me for the pain of SPRINTING 100 metres.

SO here I am wondering, DO I ENTER this year.

The announcement comes over the tannoy, “WOULD ALL PARENTS WHO WISH TO RACE PLEASE MAKE THEIR WAY TO THE START LINE.” I glance up in the direction of my daughter who is shouting and waving frantically, “GO ON DAD, GO ON DAD” (repeat over and over).

Remembering what I said to her, (it’s not winning but it is WANTING to win) I make my way to the start line.

My pulse is beginning to quicken as I get nervous. The whistle goes, and we’re off. or should I say, all the other dad’s are off. I am running but with little speed from my youth remaining (and I’m sure all the other dad’s are at least 10 years younger than me :)).

I actually did better than I thought, and finished 5th after making up ground in the later stages. My daughter is happy I took part and did the best I could and I am happy as I realise that my legs still work.

Since the race (5 days ago) I spent 4 of those days in agony as my legs keep cramping up and wonder what the heck I am doing at my age.  But was it worth it? YES. Because I wanted to show my daughter how important it is to always do your best and have a go even if you know you can’t win.

Next year is my daughters last sports day in primary school. I have a choice now. Do I enter next years race and feel the pain after or feign injury and allow my legs to live in peace?  Actually I have chosen a 3rd option.

I am going to prepare next year by changing my gym workout and doing some short sharp sprint in advance to prepare my legs. That way I get to make my daughter proud of me whilst ensuring I don’t kick myself in the process (if my legs worked that is).

So keep making the right choices for yourself and those around you in your life and remember to prepare as best you can for whatever is coming your way.

Thanks for reading and please do visit my website www.darrentoms.com for more inspiring and thought provoking stuff

Published this earlier today and then saw this in the Daily Mail Website… http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1292609/Take-easy-sports-day-physiotherapists-warn-parents-half-reveal-theyve-treated-injured-mums-dads.html

When I was 10 years old I recall listening the radio when Kenny Everitt was on. He was running a competition and I had to guess the name of the disguised voice. It was back in the days when you had to send in postcards. No phone in’s, no texting, no emails, this was good old fashioned postcards.

I recall I was convinced I was going to win because I knew who the voice was. As it happened I didn’t win and that was the start of something that I only recently realised would have such an impact on my life.

From that moment on I never bothered to enter any more competitions. Why? Because I felt that there was no way I could ever win. With so many people entering all these competitions, whether on cereal packets, to radio shows, to TV shows. I never bothered to enter them because I knew that I would never win.

The challenge with this kind of thinking is it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy and it can impact other areas of your life.

I would always drive to the car parks instead of looking for car parking spaces on the road, because I believed I would never find one on the road.

Of course I never found one on the road BECAUSE I never went looking for one.

With my coaching practice I often challenge the beliefs of my clients to see whether they are limiting beliefs.

I have done the same with myself over the last few years and have noticed some interesting things.

Actually it all started with my wife telling to go and look for car spaces rather than going and paying for parking. Suddenly I started finding spaces. Not all the time but on many occasions I would find the perfect spot.

My wife also started letting my stepson enter competitions. He actually won a big one recently and ended up in a national TV campaign for a range of children toys. He was flown to Manchester and stayed overnight and had a fantastic time.

My stepdaughter, who loves musical theatre, auditioned for shows and started getting the parts.

So would the same happen for me? I started believe that I could win. I put it to the test when recently entering a radio competition. It was a golden hour competition and I rang and rang and eventually got through to the DJ. I won the competition with a family day out at a local holiday park. Not the biggest prize but I have really started noticing that if you belief you can win then you stand a chance.

Entering a competition does not guarantee winning, but NOT entering guarantees NOT winning.

This can be applied to other areas of life as well. From getting that parking space to winning a promotion, or getting that perfect job. It can even apply to businesses looking to develop new products or services.

Anything is possible and it starts with what you believe in.

Is what you believe in helping you or hindering you. If it’s hindering you then start to change what you think you can achieve and reap the rewards for that subtle change in your thinking.

Come visit my website for more information on how you can change your life forever. www.darrentoms.com

This week in UK we have been lucky enough to witness the, now annual, spectacle that is, Britain’s Got Talent. Simon Cowell’s talent show that uncovers some incredible acts, all hoping to be win a place at The Royal Variety Show and a serious amount of cash.

I believe America’s Got Talent starts next week (here on ITV 2 anyway)

This week it has been semi final week, (how you can have 5 semi finals is beyond me but I digress) with 8 acts a night performing and then two acts going through the LIVE final on Saturday night.  We have a dancing dog (Go Chandi) which personally has my vote, singers, a fantastic dancing duo who you have to watch to believe (Twist & Pulse), Spellbound who do stuff that really shouldn’t be possible and a comedian / impressionist who is ACTUALLY very funny.

Alas though as well as 10 finalists we also have 36 acts that didn’t make it past the semi finals. As I was watching this week it was interesting to see the body language when the results were announced and they realised the dream was over. Tonight after the final we’ll have another 9 acts to add to those that are disappointed they didn’t win.

They’ll be tears for some and graceful acceptance from others. This is actually the first year where I haven’t got a clear view on who will win. I was wrong last year though as I thought SuBo AKA Susan Boyle would walk it. Of course though, she didn’t. She came second.

This is where hope plays its part for the future for the acts that didn’t win. Does NOT winning equal failure? NO. It means only what it means. That being, you came X place in a competition called Britain’s Got Talent. Anything more than that is just a thought.

Susan Boyle came 2nd last year but has gone from strength to strength with her own profile and career. Finishing further down the rankings are Stavros Flatley. An act that captured the nation and are still going strong.

So how can all this help you in your life? It is a great metaphor to remind us that whilst there are disappointing things that happen to us like:

  • not winning BGT
  • Not getting that promotion
  • Not getting the job offer
  • Not getting a pay-rise
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • and so many more

They are just what is happening at that moment. It doesn’t define the future it only defines right NOW. Sure it is OK to get disappointed but it’s how you respond to this news that matters.

Whatever happens tonight does not guarantee success [or failure] for any of the acts. It’s what they do next that matters.

Same for you, whatever has happened, has happened. You can’t change it and wishing it hadn’t happened is just a waste of time. Decide what you are going to do to take advantage of the situation you are in.

Keep making the right choices for yourself and those around you.

Regards

Darren

www.darrentoms.com

p.s. Vote Chandi the amazing dog (with Tina)

Over the winter months walking my dog was pretty much a solitary thing. Not too many people ventured out into the rain and the cold and those that did did so head down and moving too quickly to stop and chat.

Since the spring arrived followed ever so slowly by the warmer weather I notice how busier my dog walking route gets.

Along with warmer weather comes lighter evenings and this in turn brings out the kids and young adults (13 – 17 year olds).

When walking my dog I notice how freely the youth of today use profanities and swear words not even quietly but sometimes at the top of their voice.

I recall one time walking along when a girl aged around 11 – 13 shouts, at the top of her voice, over to her ‘friend’, “Oi, you Fxxxkxxg cxxt”.

I was really taken back by this especially as I was only about 10 feet away when she did it and she knew I was there.

Luckily I stand at 6’1″ tall and so I guess command a certain amount of authority (it also helps I have my trusty German Shepherd dog with me) so I felt comfortable advising her calmly and quietly that this language was NOT acceptable.

She muttered something under her breath but didn’t answer back.  I have seen her since and every time she keeps quiet.

I wonder how long it had had been (if ever) since she was last actively challenged by someone about her behaviour.

Impact of this

I am hoping that maybe the next time she is about to use foul language she may recall that there is a consequence and that someone else may take exception. Future employers would and so would the police.

I have done the same thing a number of times both with language and once stopping a fight with some local boys. I now always stop and have a chat with the boy (15) who was about to get beaten up.

I am aware that I am confident, I hold a black belt in Karate, I am tall and most of all I have my German Shepherd with me, but it is important that if you notice a behaviour or activity [in the environment you live in] and you don’t like this then you have a choice. What are you going to do about it?

You could take direct action but ONLY if your own safety is not at threat, you could call the police, you could even move to an environment that is better for you. There is ALWAYS a choice.

I hope that my actions with the kids in my area which are polite yet firm, listening yet not always accepting will plant the seed of good and give them the opportunity to believe they can be good regardless of peer pressure.

So what can YOU do about situations you don’t like? It could be home, it could be work, it could be the kids, your siblings in fact it could be any situation.

You can decide to do something about a situation you don’t like or you can moan about it.

Either way you are part of the solution or APART from the solution.

Keep making the right choices for yourself and those around you.

Visit http://www.darrentoms.com for more podcasts and video blogs