Wow, we are already into the 2nd quarter of the year! I am sure you no doubt feel the same that the time has sped by already in 2016.

As some of you may be aware, I have just returned from a trip to Dubai and Malaysia, where I delivered a 2 day training course on “Leadership Skills and Emotional Intelligence”.

Big firsts

I’m sure some of you can relate to having a big idea and the amazing feeling you get when that comes to fruition. The thing is, our big ideas can take us significantly out of our comfort zones, which was the case for me with this trip. First time travelling on my own, first time in this part of the world and first time training outside the UK!

I first had the idea for a new training course, with day 1 focused on self-leadership and day 2 focused on leading others, during summer 2015. I was excited at the prospect of running this for a company in the future and then a training company from Malaysia contacted me via LinkedIn at the back end of 2015 to start the journey that led to last week. My big vision had become a reality, in a bigger way than I had imagined! I often quote Bill Gates that “we are capable of much bigger things in the long term than we believe” and this was that quote in action.

Preparation is everything!

Finalising the agreement with the company and completing all the preparation for the course kept me busy during March. We agreed 50% up front with all travel and accommodation booked by them. This was based on sound advice and advice I would pass onto anyone taking on work in a new area of the world. I also sought advice on cultural differences to do my best not to offend any of the delegates in Dubai and Malaysia (something I still tripped up with when using the wrong structure for a Chinese Malaysian name!)

Celebrate your successes

When I arrived in Dubai, I was overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the place and I had an amazing view from my room on the top floor of my hotel (floor 60!). I spent a couple of hours in the beautiful weather by the pool and reflected on how far I had come in 9 years since starting my business and winning my first coaching client at £25 per 2 hour session! I advise my clients and would advise any of you to reflect on your achievements and celebrate your successes, as we can often take too much for granted. I continued to pinch myself with a huge smile on my face, as I took stock of how far I had come on my journey to this point.

Next morning, I put my tie on (for the first time in 3 or 4 years) and headed into the training room for day 1 in Dubai. I quietened my negative voice and got myself in a strong place psychologically, as this was paramount to deliver at my very best. Some of the material did not work 100% and keeping the engagement with people of different cultures was slightly harder work, but the delegates were great to work with and it was with trepidation (that I am sure you would understand) that I handed out the feedback sheets on day 2. I totalled up the scores and realised the feedback score was 96.4%! My big vision and need to push through comfort zones had paid off and I was totally over the moon.

Malaysia - thinking big

I set off to Malaysia with the wind in my sails and had another great 2 days there. I went out for dinner with Sam, the Malaysian Training Manager I had been working with, and we both reflected on the great start to our relationship. Sam and his company has been fantastic and we are already planning to repeat the training course in the next 12 months.

We all have more potential than we realise

Some of you may feel that we make our good fortune, but I felt and still feel very lucky to have had such an amazing opportunity. I had the seed of an idea and within 12 months I was out of my comfort zone and in a different country delivering leadership training. We all have so much more potential than we (and especially our negative inner voice) believe. It is also when we break through our comfort zones that we grow. I told my partner Rebecca that I had grown so much in 7 days and I believe we should all seek and be open to those experiences that can do the same for us all.

If you need help and inspiration to develop your direction and break through your comfort zones you can join us at our PI Leadership Discovery Workshop on May 16th. It would be a pleasure to work with you on thinking big and breaking through your comfort zones at this complimentary workshop.

Or please feel free to call us on 0115 903 3133 or email at and we can discuss how we can help you in any way.