Monday, 27 June 2016

Firewalking: Fun or Empowerment?

Firewalking as a metaphor for overcoming your fears has really been done to death. Tony Robbins in the news again because people got burnt at one of his events again.

I can't believe that people still use firewalking as part of their program.

Back in 1997 I was running sales training workshops that culminated in a board break. I learnt that at Speakers International. I was working as the National Sales Trainer for Telewest.

Then in 2000 I wanted a new metaphor for breakthrough. I looked around and found a couple of companies that provided Firewalking events. I rang them and one of them called me back. It was a call from a guy called Martin Sterling. He called me around five times to tell me that his company could provide the service we needed. In the end it didnt happen. In fact, Speakers International ran the firewalk in Basildon.

He kept in touch with me and one day, when I told him I was in Sheffield, asked me to drop into the office on the way to London. After a long chat he asked me to work with him.

1997 Cable London
Sales Seminar Boardbreak
Over the next couple of years I worked with him, then we split and I went off to get further into NLP and Hypnosis and then he contacted me again in 2003 and asked me to work with him.

Firewalking and Glasswalking were the main areas of business. It always struck me as a waste of time. It was fun but what was the concept? Walking over 'red hot coals' as a way of fearbusting! How?

Its all to do with state of mind and physics.

Its important to have the right state of mind and the training session prior to the walk builds towards you believing that you can walk on fire. The exercises and messages are very standard NLP and persuasion exercises and can be found in numerous seminars not linked with Firewalking. In fact you can pick up most NLP books and see the exercises. You are actually walking on burnt wood, not coals. Its Pine. The optimum heat is around 1300 degrees but most companies have people walking on ash, especially if 40 other people have walked on it prior to you. Usually a line of fire either side of the 'firebed' gives the impression that it's hotter than it is.

Its also about contact time. If you have taken a jacket potato out of the oven and switched it from hand to hand then you wont burn yourself. Same with firewalking. Your contact time with the 'firebed' is so minimal that you cannot be burnt. If you walk at a steady speed, six steps is enough to get you over and you will have done it(with some companies you only need three - check youtube, I have seen firebeds of 6ft!!).

Pine is the wood of choice. This is a great generator of heat but not a conductor of heat. Imagine a cake in an oven. After its been in there for a time and you open the oven door you will get a blast of hot air (not unusual in this industry). If you put your hand in and touch the cake: no problem. Touch the oven walls: no hand left. Basically, what you are walking on during a firewalk is like walking on a 20ft long cake. Generating heat but not a conductor.

Lasting benefits...absolutely NONE!

I asked a group of car salesmen once what they considered were the benefits of walking on fire. They all told me the same thing.

"We are gonna sell a ton of cars now!"
"Great," I said...."How?"

Each one of them got a glazed look on their faces and stayed that way. Then they spent ages justifying how Firewalking will help them shift those old rust buckets and sleds that had been on the forecourt for ages. They couldn't justify it. I gave them motivational, attitudinal, influence, inner game and Sales Training. THAT worked!!!

In the old days, in the 80s/90s, it was new and unusual. Tolly Burkan and Anthony Robbins made it well known and then everyone jumped on the bandwagon. Now its old and, to quote Tom Jones: it's not unusual. If you ask a group of 40 people about it, at least 30 of them will have heard of it and 10 or 12 will have done it.

Its mystery has gone. A simple search on the internet will explain the mechanics of it.

Its very simple to organise and I have the Tolly Burkan certification to train it and the Insurance cover so you could ask me if you wanted to but I havent wanted to organise or train a firewalk for years...

So would I do it if I was in your position and looking for a way of Breaking Through or Empowering myself? No. Its all a bit of fun. You can raise money for charity doing it - It's the shortest sponsored walk in the world...

Glasswalking is the same. It sounds scary, it sounds terrifying but shouldn't. Again, physics and common sense come into play.

If you want to lie on a bed of nails you can. If you want to lie on a bed of ONE nail, then that would be very foolish. Same with Glasswalking. If you tread on a piece of broken glass while barefoot you will cut your foot. A Glasswalk on the other hand is performed on a bed of a thousand or so broken bottles.

Yes they are very sharp shards of broken glass but it's a glass bed at least two inches deep so anything under your foot compresses into whats below and around it. No problem. It sounds great when the glass breaks and cracks under your feet but it also cushions your feet. If you feel anything under your foot that you don't like the feel of...lift your foot and put it somewhere else.

When you are involved in the fire and glass walking industry for as long as I was you believe it is the cure for everything and the best motivator. When you have worked outside of the firewalk and glasswalk industry for as long as I have, you realise how far behind the times these events really.are...and they should stay there...

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Do They Understand?

Klingon Spoken Here
The Salesman Talks Klingon to a Customer!

So there I was browsing in the computer shop. Looking at all of the interesting toys and gizmo’s on display. I saw a laptop exactly the same as mine. Same spec, everything. Well, apart from one crucial thing: it was £80 less than I paid the other week.

As I was silently congratulating myself on my immaculately timed purchase (!) I became aware of a man and a boy looking at a desktop PC next to me. The man was middle aged and scratching the side of his face as he stared at the PC with what I describe as a ‘rabbit caught in the car headlights’ look.

The boy said, “Dad, we really need something that’s fast!”
I watched the man as he rubbed his cheek.
‘Don’t scratch your chin, pal’ I thought, ‘That’s a sure-fire invitation. It's a buying signal. It tells the salesperson you want information.’
So...he scratched his chin. From nowhere the salesman appeared as if he had been teleported. He pointed at the PC the man and boy had been looking at.

“Great choice. E2440 Intel core2 QX6700 processor; 2GB DDR2 memory; DL DVD RW-CD-RW and DVD-ROM/CD-RW drives; 400GB SATA 150 hard drive. It’s hard core!”
“Oh, right” the Dad said, nodding his head.

I was impressed. He was giving a very good impersonation of someone who had understood what he had been told. In fact he hadn’t a clue what he had been told. He could have been given the location of the Holy Grail and he was none the wiser. It sounded to me like the salesman was speaking in Klingon.

The salesman stood looking at the Dad as he weighed up the situation. After a few seconds the Dad said, “Thank you, we’ll have a look around.” And walked to the door dragging the kid behind him. I watched him walk out the shop. I turned and looked at the salesman and he was looking puzzled. He was wondering what was wrong with the guy.

I could have told him, but think about this...Always communicate with people in the same way THEY speak and think, and not the way YOU speak and think.

This is crucial and never more so than when selling over the phone.
1. Listen very carefully to words and phrases they use to describe situations, needs, desires and problems. Write down the relevant ones.
2. Question to get explanations on ones that you don’t fully understand, or maybe even seem foreign to you. For example, “When you say you want something that’s fast, what exactly are we talking about? What will you be using it for?”
3. Use their language when presenting your sales message recommendations. Sell them on the results, using the language they understand. “...and with this machine your son’s games will run twice as fast as on that old machine you said you have now. Plus, you won’t have to sit and wait for it to grind through those spreadsheets you mention you run...”

Don’t sell the means; people buy the end.
If you are going to go fishing, bait your hook with something the fish likes and not YOUR favourite food.

Pace yourself and mirror the customer.
And remember this:
"The trouble with talking too fast is you may say something you haven’t thought of yet."

Wednesday, 15 June 2016


Influence, persuasion, coercion, call it what you want.

So many times, on a daily basis, we are bombarded with ideas and information to the point of overload.  We spend a lot of time filtering out and filtering in things that are either of use to us or not.

One of the main factors of development is knowing what we want.  When we are certain that what we think and believe are in alignment with each other we function superbly.  It is when an outside influence, certainly of a negative nature, impacts our rationale that we have an imbalance and we are susceptible to making quite damaging decisions based upon false beliefs that have been instilled in an insidious way, by subterfuge from an external source.

Just like a Trojan Horse, an idea or belief arrives looking like something we have been seeking, only for thousands of bad strategies and ideas to leap out from inside and attack the very core of our being.

It is very important to keep an open mind in life: but not open enough so that anything can slip into it unchecked.

We have to be sure and certain of our own thoughts, ideas, feelings, emotions and beliefs and have confidence in our choices.  In the world today there are many options, presented by many people as the 'new, new, thing'.  Be aware and alert at all times.

Not all of those ideas and people are there to help you.  They are there to help themselves.

"If you do not control your thoughts and feelings...there are thousands of people who will!"

Keep being EPIC in all that you do...


Monday, 13 June 2016


I spend a lot of time travelling.  I consider it 'up' time, not 'down' time, and it is a time within which I always find the time to mess around with a calculator.

Chunking down or breaking down a problem is the easiest way to solve it.  Solve the five component parts of a problem and you have solved the BIG problem.

How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time!

Do you want to make one million pounds or dollars?  Then break it down into chunk sized, manageable (do-able) pieces....The result is the same, but the journey becomes more achievable.

Sunday, 12 June 2016


People take life too seriously. 

If you look at your thoughts throughout the day, almost all thoughts are about the past or the future. 

Even when you are thinking about something in the present you are comparing it to something in the past, or to what you want or do not want in the future. 

Most people have very few thoughts that are just in the moment. 

When you can live in the moment, it is called being mindful or mindfulness. You are really paying attention. You are in present time. You are not thinking about the past. You are not thinking about the future (what you want or do not want). 

You are fully present. You are childlike. You are playful. You live with a sense of wonder. You enjoy each experience no matter what it is! Just as a child. You have no cares about the future. You have no regrets about the past. This is a wonderful place to be. Try it and you will see!

And, remember, our words are very powerful. The words you use create the world you experience. Think about what you say. 

Today, focus on paying attention to every word that comes out of your mouth. Notice how negative you speak! Notice who you say the same phrases all the time. You have patterns of speech, habits of using the same words and phrases, and you are generally not even aware of the words you say.

Notice what you are saying almost subconsciously. You speak most of the time on autopilot. Pay attention. Then, focus, be aware, and be conscious of the words you use. Decide to speak positively and with intention and purpose. Remember the old saying "If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all!" 

Remember another old saying, "It is better to say nothing and be thought an idiot than to open your mouth and confirm it!"

Be the person that everyone knows always says only positive things with a smile on his face! Then watch you world improve in every way.