4 Myths of Your Mind


Your brain is an amazing piece of work. The sub-conscious calculations that it can make in order for you to catch a ball in mid-flight is just one example of the effortless ease of your brain. Your mind can do many things, however there are a few myths about your brain you should be aware of and decide to do something about them.

1. Only the person you are speaking to is listening

When you speak, you are the only one truly listening. Our brains are taking in every drop of nuance of our speech. What we tell ourselves has deep meaning for ourselves. Sometimes when we speak to others, we are affirming a deep-seated belief that may or may not be helpful to us. I remember someone telling me, after I gave up smoking: “Once a smoker, always a smoker.” Be careful what you tell others.

2. What I tell myself has no impact on my behaviour

Our Internal dialogue has a profound impact on our performance. We have 65,000-75,000 thoughts a day. It’s obvious that we repeat many of our thoughts many times over. That’s why it’s not a good idea to beat yourself up or tell yourself you are no good at something. You’ll be repeating it more than you realise to yourself, thousands of time a day. There is a link between what we tell ourselves, our self esteem and our behaviour. Be careful what you tell yourself.

3. What I believe to be true must be true

Not all beliefs are true. The reason for this is that your amazing brain only collects evidence to support your belief. It filters, deletes or distorts any evidence to the contrary. Therefore, if you think that you are no good at something, your brain will nudge you consciously every time you fail at that something. What your brain will not do is let you know when you are successful at that something. You will write it off as a one off, or even deny you did it. Your beliefs aren’t true, you just have to find the evidence from others to support a new belief. If you are reading this and don’t believe me, this is the power of your brain giving you false evidence over a life-time.

4. I can’t choose my emotions

Many people think that any emotional response is an automatic function of the mind. Whilst your amazing brain learns the behaviour you usually want or need in any situation, you have the power to choose the response you want, rather than just being a victim of your emotions. We learn most of the behaviours that will see us through life at a very early age and we find it difficult to change some of the immature responses, such as sulking or withdrawing when we don’t get what we want. As a mature person, you can choose your emotions by unlearning the less resourceful emotions and behaviours. Be aware of your emotions and then you can control them. If you don’t believe this, see 3 above.

Your amazing brain can empower you to amazing performance, starting now.

Have a great week!

Mervyn is an inspirational leadership development specialist and keynote speaker.

For more information


Posted in conflict management, emotional Intelligence, Learning, Performance Management, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Droid you are looking for isn’t here

the droid you are looking for.001

In one of the funniest and most remembered scenes in Star Wars, Luke Skywalker and his team effortlessly move past The Dark Lord Guards by using a “Jedi Knight Mind-Control technique” just by telling a lie and stating it as a fact. It’s funny because of its’ simplicity. It’s also funny because of the gullibility of the droids guarding The Dark Lord.

We all want to more persuasive, don’t we? We would like to be a Jedi in a jam and smoothly make our way to success using the sort of mind-control required to get people to do exactly what we want them to do. That would be great, but people just really aren’t that compliant in real life, unless we were to hypnotise them. That doesn’t seem to be either ethical nor practical.

There is research that more than suggests that people will be more persuaded by certain approaches and whilst this comes as no surprise, what is surprising is that we are ALL persuaded by these approaches. Like any approach, you encounter the law of diminishing returns when it is over-used. If you always use the same approach, people will know this and take action to avoid or ignore.

Here are some tips if you would like to be even more persuasive.

Getting people to attend If you are running an event and you want more people to attend, let them know that time is running out and that there are only a few tickets left. Obviously, the event must have a compelling benefit for people to attend……

Become a subject matter expert If you want more work as a freelancer. Become known for something and people will gravitate towards you.

Up your appearance If it looks like a duck and walks like one, then it probably is a duck. Look like an expert, walk like one and talk like one and you will be seen as an expert.

Believe your message If you have to give people bad news, you will have the temptation to “get this over with, as quickly as possible.” You may think that everyone will believe you when you speak, however they are most-likely to be sceptical of your message because of your inner-need to skip to the end. You will have the need to persuade people that things will get better than they are now. Take some quiet time to access your feelings when you are about to give bad news. Align yourself inwardly with your message. If it doesn’t feel right to you, change the message until it does. In this way you will show your team that you are aligned to your message and they will be more persuaded by you.

We can’t be a Jedi Knight, however we can become an expert in persuasion.

Have your best week


Mervyn Murray is an international Leadership Development Specialist and keynote speaker delivering inspirational talks and workshops across the world.

For further information visit:


Posted in Communication, conflict management, Customer Service, emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Time Management | Leave a comment

Good isn’t good enough


Ever run across a good person who has lost their job? Have you ever met someone who is a thoroughly nice person and yet they are alone? They were good to their spouse, but are now divorced? Welcome to the brave new world where *good* isn’t good enough anymore.In business, customers have so much more choice these days as to where they can spend their hard-earned cash. It’s easy enough to find alternatives. There is plenty of competition for our business and services.

What else? If *good* isn’t good enough, then what else is there? There are plenty of people who are below average, right? It makes sense that *good* should be ok. However, the game has changed. I think that we are living in a new world of choice and plenty. There are now 7bn people in the world, all will be competing for jobs, wives and husbands, boyfriends, girl friends, houses, holidays, cars, everything!

To succeed in today’s world, we have to be.. wait for it… (drum roll please)


If you want to be *good*, or average these days, then you are settling for a below-average life. In order to settle, it infers that we are going down and slowing down. Here are a few things we can do to be outstanding:

Unleash Take the brakes off. Take some risks and dare differently. Being different is to be outstanding. What’s your uniqueness? Take away the blinkers and look around at your fellow workers. Dare to be better than them. Do more. Contribute without fear. Fail often. Get up and fail again. Failing isn’t failure. Pain is just failure leaving the body. Unleash your potential, I dare you.

Show up I don’t mean turn up for work. I mean SHOW UP. Bring energy and enthusiasm to your work and relationships at work. Imagine that TV cameras are on you every moment of your working day. What do you do then? You’d show up! Showing up doesn’t mean showing off, but there is little to be gained by hiding away unnoticed. You can do it, it’s easier than you think.

Pay it Forward We’re all familiar with paying someone back for a good deed that they have done for you. Reciprocity has to start somewhere. Start the outstandingness (new word) by doing something really outstanding without expecting anything in return. Feel how good it is to do something nice for someone just because you can. It’s really powerful. Go on, make someone’s day beautiful today.

Smile Feel great and let the world know you feel great by smiling. A smile is the most potent weapon any of us has to build meaningful relationships. Many keep theirs holstered and rarely see the light of day. Smile, light up your world and those around you. Go on, smile. Do it now. :oD

Being outstanding shouldn’t be a chore, something you have to do. Being outstanding is a skill that we have to sharpen every angle day. Start now with that million-watt smile.

As top coach Tony Robbins says:

”You only have to be an little taller than everyone else to be outstanding.”

Have your best week ever


Mervyn Murray is an international Leadership Development Specialist and keynote speaker delivering inspirational talks and workshops across the world.

Posted in Change Management, Communication, Customer Service, emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Learning, Performance Management, Risk Management, Time Management | Leave a comment

Go Deep: World Cup Special

World cup.001

To mark this World Cup and to get in there before England fly back, I thought I would discuss leadership issues using this tournament as a focal point. The one thing the England are doing this time around that is markedly different from previous World Cups is that they are taking a psychologist with them. This gives me hope that FA management recognise that it as much about what happens between the ears as between the white lines of the pitch.

Manchester United have long known that they only have to look at the body language of opponents in the tunnel before a match to know that they will win. This is because they can tell just from looking into their eyes whether their opponents have any belief.

The winners of this World Cup will be the ones who have the greatest belief. They will be the ones who have prepared their minds to know that will win. The winners will have to go deep into the minds of players and create a compelling outcome. They will do this in the following ways:

Set a Compelling Goal and Dig Deep This should be as specific as possible, using qualitative and quantative measures to know when success has been achieved. In a team game such as football, getting agreement to this compelling goal is not easy. The reason for this is that people will “go with the flow” and agree to the louder voices in the team, or go with whatever the boss says. Leadership will have to dig a bit deeper to get everyone onboard with the goal.

Visualise Deeply Already Having Succeeded Our imaginations are very powerful weapons to give us the motivation and energy required for success. The key here is to imagine winning the world cup, for example, using a full sensory input asking these questions:

How does it feel to be a world cup winner?

What are the expressions of joy? How does that feel?

What are we going to do once we have won the world cup?

What does it sound like? What will we say? What will others say?

What it looks like. What are the colours and brightness of the image?

Dig Deeper By Repetition They will continue to reinforce the images and feeling generated by these exercises over and over, so that it becomes part of their identity. Being winners will be who they are, not just an aspiration. This requires dedication and hard work. Above all this should not be a chore. This should be a positive and empowering part of the training to release energy and motivation.

Have Your Best Week Ever

Mervyn Murray is an international leadership development expert and keynote speaker


Posted in Change Management, Communication, Customer Service, emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Learning, Performance Management | Leave a comment

Go for this in a conflict

conflict management.001

Two of your team are in an argument and you’ve been called to sort them out. There are a few ways I’ve seen managers approach this complex issue. They are:

Do nothing

They leave it to themselves to resolve the issues because they think that it is a personal issue and that managers shouldn’t intervene.

Blame one side or the other

Being in charge has the pitfall of becoming judge and jury when asked to get involved in a conflict.

Blame both parties

Getting annoyed that you’ve had to stop your important work to sort out what seems to be a “playground” issue, blaming both parties is a common way to get back to work as quickly as possible.

These three ways of dealing with team conflict have one thing in common. They are short-term. None of these approaches work long term because the core issues have not been resolved and will surface again and again unless you approach the issue strategically.

Go for Understanding

When team members have a disagreement that has escalated beyond the normal to a conflict situation you should go for understanding.


Step 1

Get the parties in a room and agree a common goal with them.

For example “ We are here in the best interests of our customers and discuss how we can serve them better”


Explain the process detailed in the following steps.


Ask one party to go first and explain their point of view in the conflict.

No personal attacks.


The other party can ask questions once the 1st party has stated their case, to clarify understanding.


The second party then states their case. The 1st party then can ask questions to clarify understanding. Your goal as manager is to repair their relationship, so be prepared to referee these exchanges so that it doesn’t dissolve into another argument. Going for understanding is very powerful when in conflict. The hardest part is to remember to go for understanding when conflict arises.

 Have your best week ever


Mob: +44 (0) 7739 177 678

Posted in Communication, conflict management, emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Performance Management, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Choose a Resourceful State

Young Man with His Hand on His Forehead

Have you ever turned up at work to find the boss in a bad mood, then discover that you too are having a bad day? Not only that, but everyone around you is feeling down?

It may not be news to you that emotions are contagious, that people can be infected by our mood. However, what may be new to you is that you choose your mood. You have to give permission to yourself, or allow yourself, to be in this particular mood.

Psychologists call a mood “State”.

All behaviour is a result of State.

There are some States that are helpful to us:

Energised (to motivate us)

Curiosity (to help us understand)

Determined (to help us to endure)

There are some others that are unhelpful to us in modern organisation life:




The good news is that you can change your State!

There are exercises that you can do that will change your State from an unhelpful State to one that will be more effective for you.

There are some easy steps you can take to change your State.



Pay close attention to how you are feeling when in a stressful situation.


Ask yourself if these feelings are helpful to you right now.


Ask yourself what feelings would be more helpful to you right now


Access those more helpful feelings by acting as though you are already feeling those more helpful feelings

An example:

You are going to give an important presentation or speech to the Board.

You feel nervous and your hands are shaking.

Nervousness is an emotion that is not required in this situation and will affect your performance. Therefore this emotion is unhelpful.

What emotion would be helpful?

Confidence and calmness

Who do you know that personifies confidence for you?

What would that confident person be doing right now?

How would they be talking?

How would they be feeling?

Keep going through the details above, going in deeper each time to get more details about the behaviours you need right now.

As the saying goes:

“Fake it, until you make it”

Have your best week ever

Email : mervyn@masteri.co.uk

To discuss your Organisation Performance Management

Want an Expert Speaker at Your next Event?

Call me on:

+44 (0) 7739 177 678

Posted in Change Management, Communication, conflict management, Customer Service, emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Learning, Performance Management, Time Management | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Deal with Conflict in One Move


conflict management.001Conflict, when it isn’t handled well, can sap a team’s energy and derail results, all the while driving up bad feelings and frustration. Good leaders know that conflict can be healthy, but it must be managed well, or else it will dissolve into gossiping and behind-your-back tactics designed to even up scores.

Why are people so difficult? What can we do about them?

There is one super concept that I want to share with you, but although the idea is simple, it is still very, very powerful. It also requires some thought by you.

Before I give you this simple idea, I want you to step back a little and be strategic for a moment. When we are dealing with all people, what is our goal? Our goal is to increase teamwork and collaboration. I say this because, as leaders, we can only achieve with others and through their efforts. So, if this is true, then we should be increasing the number of things we have in common and reduce differences. The number one concept for dealing with conflict is:

Change your attitude. All behaviour has an element of good intentions driving behaviour. This might be hard for you to know what that can be, given that they are driving you crazy, but we all behave with good intentions, don’t we? The major features in any conflict situation are your reaction to it and your response to the person’s behaviour. Therefore, if you change your reaction to their behaviour, they stop being difficult around you. Sounds too simple, right? True. At first sight, this advice seems too slick and easy. However, you will also know how difficult this can be to pull off, if we are unaware of our reaction to their behaviour.

Here are 3 Steps to get you on your way:

1. Know what you want from this person.What I mean is: know what you really want, not what you don’t want. When we focus on what we don’t want, we get more of that, instead of what we really want. So, step back and be strategic with this person. Know what you really want and you are more likely to get that.

2. Pay attention to the behaviour of this person and think about what their needs are right now, driving this behaviour. Are they task-driven right now? Do they just want the bottom line from me and I’m not ready for that? Or, are they seeking attention from me and they want some form of recognition of their work right now?

3. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Be prepared to consider that they are not being difficult. Nobody intends to be difficult with the same person all the time and so you should be prepared to be flexible.

Have your best week ever

Mervyn Murray is an International Leadership Development Specialist and Keynote speaker.


Tel: +447739177678

Posted in Change Management, Communication, conflict management, Customer Service, emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Performance Management | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Grenade at Work

the grenade at work.001

We have all been there when a seemingly normal person suddenly explodes with anger, leaving everyone in the room stunned and silent. How is it that a normally sane person suddenly becomes an insane, arm-waving monster, loudly shouting the odds at anyone who is within range? Also, what can be done about it? We call someone who suddenly explodes like this “The Grenade”. The reason for this is because they explode over a trigger event, or even just a word. The Grenade is usually a passive person who is pushing down the urges to be aggressive in certain situations until the moment they can hold it in no longer and… BOOM! They explode. This leaves everyone in the room wondering: What on earth has just happened? Only the Grenade knows what has pulled the pin, everyone else is just left stunned.

What Can Be Done?

If you have someone who just explodes from time-to-time, then you will know that there is no telling when it will happen. But there are steps we can take after someone has exploded to ensure or reduce the chances it will happen again.

When someone explodes, follow these steps:

1. Get their attention: In full-rant, people are not thinking straight and will be in full flow. To get their attention, you must increase you voice volume to match theirs. Say their name repeatedly. Get up-close and maintain eye contact. Not too close though! Be assertive, not aggressive with them. Wave your arms if you need to.

2. Speak to their emotions: “I know you’ve worked very hard on the details of this project and we all know the extra hours you’ve put in to get us all here.” Is an example of aiming for their emotions and should get them to start to calm down. Their need is to be appreciated and you must demonstrate this very quickly in order for them to feel better about the situation.

3. Bring the temperature down: Once you know that you have got their attention and that they have heard that you appreciate them, now is the time to take the temperature down to normal levels. Lead this by gesturing to sit down (they are usually up and walking around when exploding) and reduce your voice volume and tempo to a calm and soothing rate.

4. Take a Break: It’s time for everyone to regain composure, process what has just happened and refocus. How long a break is a judgement call. A big explosion can sometimes ripple into more than one person exploding, which will need a bigger time-out than a small spat.

5. Find the Pin for next time: Some time after the event, maybe even weeks afterwards, find the right time to sit down with the person and discuss what went on with them at the meeting. Your goal here is to find out what triggered the explosion so that this can be avoided in future.

Have your best week ever.

Mervyn is an international leadership development expert and keynote speaker to raise standards and lift spirits. His mission: to make you outstanding.


Posted in Change Management, Communication, Customer Service, emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Performance Management | Leave a comment

Are You Missing This Power?


Managing people can be a mixed blessing at times. They can frustrate you, almost to the point of purposeful sabotage. Many managers and supervisors get swept up in the day-to-day “must-do” that they get burnt out trying too hard getting the work out of the door.

Most people know that the bulk of workplace learning happens doing the job itself, not in the sterile environment of a classroom or the 2 dimensional flat screen approach to many legislative-driven learning initiatives, such as Health and Safety.

If people learn best by doing the job, then the most powerful tool in any manager’s briefcase should be coaching. Coaching, when done well, can liberate people to make their own decisions about their work, rather than be told what to do. We call this empowerment, however this seems to me to be a word that is thrown around liberally to describe a fantasy work environment that most managers and staff smile sagely at as the stuff of wishy-washy consultant-speak. How to start coaching, if you are unfamiliar with this skill? Here are some steps to get you coaching:

Step 1. Grab a book on Coaching Any book on coaching skills will give you great insights for your approach to this exciting topic. If that will take too much time for you, here are a few more steps you can take while you finish the book.

Step 2. Observe Step back and just look around you at what your team are doing. Are you noticing the good things, or the bad? If you always notice the bad, fight the urge and look for good until you find something. Don’t speak just make notes. Practice observing behaviour at regular times of the day until you have noticed enough good and bad that you no longer have to make notes.

Step 3. Ask and then Listen Ask questions and listen to the answers you get. Resist the natural response of getting involved in a discussion. Just listen and take notes about what you have heard. Your team will be curious about your questions. Questions are a great way to focus attention to where we want focus. Your team will start to know that this is where your priorities are now

Step 4.Ask some more Questions Questions have a powerful effect upon us all. When we are gently challenged by a searching question, we will want to find the answer and in this way we grow, learn and become more productive and creative in our problem solving.

 Have your best week ever

Mervyn Murray is an International Leadership Development Specialist and Keynote speaker.


Tel: +447739177678

Posted in Communication, emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Performance Management, Time Management, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Have you got a ‘Jeremy Paxman’ on your team?


The combative and grumpy Jeremy Paxman has stepped down from Newsnight, the flagship BBC current affairs programme. His aggressive style of questioning raised their own questions within the hierarchy of the BBC-known affectionately as “Auntie”- and the only surprise to many observers is that he managed to stay 25 years with the organisation. The reason for this is easy to see. He was as outspoken and derogative of his employers as he was withering in his assessment of politicians. He made few friends in high places.

You might think that having someone on your team who is as outspoken as Jeremy is a bad thing, but I would beg to differ. Having a “Jeremy” on your team is a great bonus. There are some (lots) of downsides too and I’m sure you can think of many right off the top of your head. Here are the top 3 benefits and one downside:

They will say what everyone else is thinking. For many leaders, being isolated from what their team thinks can be deadly. A breath of fresh air delivered without any political filter can be a great boon for leaders in highly political organisations.

They solve problems. They can cut through and get to the core of an issue because they are highly intelligent in their chosen subject and have great creativity to solve problems.

They hate inertia. They want progress. They want you to be bolder and take risks. They want to be the best. They want to be in a team that is the best too.

The downside:

They disregard protocol. Politics and people’s feelings come a distant last in their thinking, if at all. They are abrasive to the point that it can be a constant source of conflict within the team and other departments.

If you are brave enough and confident enough to manage the enormous talent that this type of person has, then you are onto a winning combination. If you can manage them effectively and if they in turn look up to you as their leader, then you will reap the rewards of a quality talent within your team.

I reckon there are many “Jeremy Paxmans” out there and they are all adding tremendous value to their teams. You too should have a Jeremy on your team.

Have your best week ever


Mob: +44 (0) 7739 177 678

Posted in Change Management, Communication, Leadership, Performance Management, Risk Management, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment