What’s In a Name?

The short answer to that question: EVERYTHING!

Ask yourself: “If I did not have a name, how could I identify myself? If I had no name, who would I be?”

Your name is extremely important. Your name is your life! It is how you identify yourself. It is how others identify you.

Sometimes we don’t recognize the powerful influence of a name and what went into how we were named in the first place.

Nigel is Scandinavian for champion but additionally people named Nigel often have a deep inner desire for travel and adventure, and want to set their own pace in life without being governed by tradition.

5If you know Nigel J. Wall you will understand how well aligned he is with the meaning of his name.

He is an ultra-distance runner, cyclist, Ironman tri-athlete, kayaker, multi-sport athlete musician, leadership coach, facilitator, motivational speaker, author, photographer, glider pilot, boat captain and entrepreneur.

Very early on in his life’s journey Nigel was heavily influenced and inspired by his Grandfather Arthur, to do great things. Arthur wasn’t a talker either! He was an amazing architect, got involved in antique restoration, played golf and was an avid stamp collector.

Nigel remembers being intrigued as his grandfather went from hobby to hobby, interest to interest, with an overarching desire to be the best he could be. At 80 Arthur got his History degree and went on to write a book, two years later!

He was also guided by his father David who was the catalyst for him entering the Aerospace industry as a designer and analyst. David was also the person who introduced Nigel to long distance hiking and sailing so as a young lad, he hiked for over forty miles across the Yorkshire moors, learned to sail, and subsequently learned to fly.

Nigel was encouraged by these influencers not to look to routine, but instead to seek adventure.

When Nigel got to about 30-35 years old he realized that most of the people around him were living very limited lives compared to what he was doing even though at the time he didn’t consider his adventures “big stuff”. At 33 he was already a glider pilot and he didn’t know of anyone else who had done that in as short a time as he had.

In 2007 when he came back from his first ultra marathon in South Africa, where he’d run 56 miles in 9 hours 37 minutes he didn’t realize the magnitude of what he’d done until he returned to what he now called home, Trinidad and Tobago, having moved there from the United Kingdom, the country of his birth, in 2003.

The Trinidad Guardian did a 2 page interview, and he even got fan mail including one from world record holder Ato Boldon!

Nigel’s thought at the time was “that was pretty big what I did” yet he didn’t just think of it in the context of it being a huge achievement. Instead he examined what led him to do it in the first place.

“I had a strong, burning desire to do it, there was a process and I reasoned that if I followed the process and then took action, I would get what I was after.”

This was both an “aha moment” and turning point for this man of extreme action.

Looking back at some of the stuff he’d done, he realized that most people didn’t get to do that and so he decided to integrate his own “learning through experience” into his coaching and leadership programs.

A father of three, and Grandpa to five, he’s learning from his kids, grandkids and coachees. He began observing changes in the behaviour of those who interacted with him.  Several people left their jobs and started their own businesses; many became 5k runners or ran marathons including his daughter Anna. “Many people decided to become triathletes”, Wall said, “as they followed my lead, learned to swim, bought a bike and did it”.

Often he’d hear people say “it was because of you.”

Feeling better for it, he finally understood that this was “purpose” stuff – it was what brought him fulfilment – it was what he was destined to do.

Nigel is often ticked off by some things he might occasionally hear or read about on social media especially if he hears this encouragement: “Stick with it; it will work out in the end.”

No it won’t! If you keep doing what you’re doing, you won’t get different results. You must be prepared to do things differently or do different things.6

Nigel spends much of his days coaching others in the art of goal setting and personal success. He has however, had to develop the ability to sometimes say “no” to people who want his time but don’t necessarily deserve it. It frees him up to do things that are important to him.

This doesn’t mean that he says no to every request. Usually on a gut feel, Nigel would meet with professionals for a coffee, to answer questions or guide them through a process, where they arrive at their own answers.

He never, ever, ever GIVES advice.  “It’s not my job to give advice. It’s my job to get people to open their eyes and do the things most important to them.”

Nigel is first to admit, he’s not perfect, though many may put him on a pedestal because of his achievements.

He often has to wrestle with the monster called distraction and sometimes needs the guidance of his own coach, to keep him on track. Often a quick run in his neighbourhood clears his mind, and allows him to return to his project, refreshed and refocused. If he doesn’t have the time to go exercise, he revisits his goals and reminds himself why he’s doing what he’s doing.

Nigel is not above laughing at his own guilty pleasure. “I coach people to turn off the TV yet I find myself sometimes rushing home to watch Netflix,” he laughs. “It’s true” he says “but I usually do it after doing the stuff I need to do.”

If he could put up a billboard with any message it would be his signature “Live, Life, Now.”

When he was still in University, a one pound fifty, used book, changed his life. Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Richard Bach. It caused him to think about limitations. He went from a B and C student to being the second person in a class of a 100 to graduate with a first class honors Engineering degree.

That book caused him to shift from thinking that to graduate at the top of his class was impossible to thinking, “Why should I settle? I could do this.” He applied what he learned, worked hard and succeeded.

He encourages everyone to invest in themselves regardless of age. Nigel walks his talk of course, having recently invested $15,000 USD to learn from the infamous John C. Maxwell, the art of presenting, speaking effectively and influencing from the stage.

Nigel’s most recent adventure took him across the transatlantic, sailing into Cape Verde after six seven days at sea. “It can feel as if you’ve gone to hell and back after sailing for six to seven hundred nautical miles, not seeing land, hardly sleeping, with huge waves attacking. Heading to St. Lucia sailing for another 15 days after that experience was both ridiculous and sublime.”

Only when you’ve actually done something, do you ever get the lesson. The world is huge and there’s lots to see, but sometimes it can be scary as shit! “Being in that boat challenged me because there is no such thing as “routine” in a boat except for : I have to eat at these three times otherwise I’ll run out of energy; I need a bit of social time; I’ll sleep when I can, relax when I can….it changed my entire outlook of twenty-four hours.”

Nigel is adamant that he’s not just chasing stuff. He keeps challenging himself however and will probably never stop choosing daring adventurers over quietly desperate activities.

He encourages all of us to use him as a role model. See him for who he is – an ordinary guy, choosing to do different things, some more challenging than others.

When you think of the name Nigel J. Wall think that regardless of your age, you can live your life now. You don’t have to wait. It’s never too late for you to embrace the attitude of “Let’s do this!” and most of all live intentionally and ask yourself this one question right now: “What do you like most about what you’ve read about Nigel’s story and what are you going to do differently based on what you’ve learned”

**If you would like to share your story or know of someone whose story you think should be shared then send me an email here

How to reopen the economy: Do we optimize to save lives or save livelihoods?

In a very general sense, we all feel that this too shall pass. Yet unlike the dot com bubble burst in 2001, and the recession of 2008, Covid-19 has us facing one of the worst times in the history of our lives.

Many companies are trying to figure out what to do. Projects and campaigns are being put on hold or cancelled. Everyone is worried about their future, their jobs, their income; and what makes it worse is that unlike any other crisis faced before – people are dying.  This has left most of us feeling exceedingly uncomfortable as we worry about our kids, our food supplies, our recent loans, our families and most of all our own health.

I thought for some reason about the D.C. sniper attacks 18 years ago. Fear ruled as John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, brought Washington to a standstill over the course of 23 days in October of 2002, randomly killing people engaged in everyday activities such as pumping gas. Only a year earlier, the area had weathered the September 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon, which killed 184.

We are all walking around with fear, not knowing if we would be singled out by the Covid-19 virus “sniper”. We all know we need to keep moving forward, yet this is all new so there is no previous pattern to follow or track record to rely upon.

There’s a big debate going on right now about when and how to reopen the economy. Do we optimize to save lives or save livelihoods?

I’m borrowing here, from the wisdom of Victor Cheng, a former McKinsey & Company management consultant, strategic planning consultant, public speaker, and author of several business books.

The far bigger issue is that we don’t have the data to make a well-informed decision.

Imagine for a minute that we had the ability to test every person in the Trinidad and Tobago to see if they have COVID-19. Imagine everyone takes a 5-minute test every 48 hours for two weeks.

In that time frame, we would be able to identify exactly who is contagious and who is not. With that accurate data, we could separate the contagious from the not contagious.

Thirty days later, the pandemic would be over for us and we would be able to save the maximum number of lives and livelihoods.

(To keep it that way, we would give the same series of tests for anyone entering the islands from another country.)

alexander-sinn-KgLtFCgfC28-unsplash

When you have really good data, you can make extremely effective decisions. You can understand the story and decide quite accurately, what should be done next.

When considering Covid-19, we have a data quality issue. It is very difficult to solve a problem if we cannot even quantify the magnitude of the problem.

That said – we are all dealing with a new experience and so we are all on a learning curve. We can only solve a problem if we first understand that we do have a problem. Then we can set about to solve it.

Many of us are panicking about money.

From a neurophysiological point of view, Dr Maria Nemeth tells us that when you’re anxious regarding money, your amygdala, the seat of fight, flight, or freeze, activates. It then hijacks your creative centers. As a result, it becomes impossible… or at least very difficult… to solve problems or be resilient when you are faced with challenges.

Now is a great time to go back to basics. First ask yourself: what business am I in? Or perhaps, what business do I need to be in, since the current model for my business is no longer working?  Next look at who you’re serving and what problems you’re going to be solving for those customers.  Rethink your web presence. If you don’t have a site, then now is a good time to get one. Check all social media site messaging, especially LinkedIn and ensure that you are communicating clearly so those who need you can find you.

And finally now is the time to persevere, once you’re still operating a viable business. Most people let their battles define them. They see failure as an indication of who they are. Mentally tough people let their perseverance define them. They see setback as an event. Uncertainty is to be expected. A setback is something that happens to a person, not who a person is. This attitude is what will help you through and past Covid-19. Even though we are all surrounded with not knowing, by death, and by seemingly insurmountable odds, our grit will see us through and we will emerge transformed amidst the new normal – victorious!

There is no Single Story

neal-e-johnson-oQC81OHcl4Q-unsplashEaster symbolizes rebirth…a process of dying to the old self and being reborn.

It’s a great time to re-examine our current state of being and then decide what we can continue doing, what needs to alter, what we can start doing and those things we absolutely need to stop.

It’s also a great time to let go of those things no longer working for us. The stories we repeat about how things are, the mantras we recite that are dead and empty…today is a great day for letting go.

A friend recently shared a Ted Talk by novelist Chimamanda Adichie who tells the story of how she found her authentic, cultural voice.

The message to me after I watched her absolutely entertaining delivery was that there is no single story.

Oh how I have tried, and didn’t consciously realize it up until now, to control the narrative of my own story. I spent years campaigning LOL as it were, wanting all and sundry to understand that I was a good person. This didn’t start in the last 4 years. I was a politician from age 5!

Can you even begin to see how exhausting this task was?

If I felt someone was for some reason, telling the wrong story or thinking the wrong story, I’d be in a tailspin. I’d set about talking to them until I felt they understood and agreed to my version.

Yet strangely, this brought me no peace.

There is no single story.

People will always share the version of what they see and how they feel.

I was zealously and fanatically trying to get control of hundreds of people ensuring that once they were talking about Giselle Patrice Hudson – that they got it right!

Ahhhh Easter! Thank you.

Today I draw back into myself all of that energy wasted attempting to control the narrative. I give up. I cannot.

Yet in the knowing, the releasing and the surrendering, I am lighter today and can rise in the true spirit of Easter.

 

What are you Grateful for Today?

Screenshot_20191220-091045_Gratitude

Today I am grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts and ideas around entrepreneurship, the Brand called YOU, becoming a well-paid professional, and earning what you are worth through the Business Newsday.

I have been writing for the Business Newsday since 2015 and am happy that Rory Rostant took a leap of faith and gave me this wonderful opportunity and platform to share what’s going on in my head with the people of Trinidad and Tobago. Thank you!

I’m also grateful that the paper has given me some real estate on line. You can check out a couple of my previous columns here – https://newsday.co.tt/reporter/giselleh/

Do You Know Your True Worth?

charge what you're worth

This statement – Charge what you’re worth seems straightforward and simple. Except often we don’t really know what we’re worth!

And why is that?

You see most times we don’t consider what comes naturally to us as valuable. We dismiss our innate talents and often wrongly assume that since it is so simple or easy for us to execute that EVERYBODY could do it.

I have noticed that SELF-WORTH is at the core of why most entrepreneurial activity is unsustainable.

We experience short-term gains but over time we often end up in pain, disruption and an inevitable crash and burn.

TODAY’S WORLD IS FILLED WITH THE POSSIBILITY FOR YOU TO WORK ON YOUR OWN TERMS AND ENJOY UNLIMITED INCOME POTENTIAL.

However for many professionals that’s just not the reality.

Instead we live in a world where “success” has increasingly been decoupled from income.

I’ve met far too many professionals who are excellent at what they do yet struggle to earn what they are worth!

I want to see more talented people in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean sharing their expertise and ideas but that won’t be possible until they are able to create lasting, successful businesses and careers for themselves – and that won’t happen if they don’t have a complete picture of what they’re bringing to the table and continue to undercharge for their services

Find out how you can finally be seen as the expert that you are and earn what you’re worth – https://bit.ly/2Mdy5vr

Today is D-Day!

to be humble

Donald Trump will not be impeached.

We are relying on facts, logic, principles, right and wrong. Unfortunately this is not at the seat of decision-making…after all…if that were the case…he would NOT be in office.

My thoughts this morning as I listen to MSNBC journalists interview senators to gauge how the vote will go.

If I’m wrong…I’ll be happy but breakdown precedes breakthrough and I just feel there’s more to come.

We’ll know soon enough…

Hopefully we can learn from and apply this learning to how we choose and what is in fact important when we choose leaders..Or how we show up when we are tasked to lead…and I’m not talking politics. 

 

Practice Asking: “What if…?”

I used to think…w

what ifI used to think when I was much younger that I was lucky. I also remember having big, bold, audacious dreams. Then…as time passed…my dream circle shrank in size. I became afraid to let my mind expand. I cut off the blood supply to my imagination and entered a room with fifty shades of grey minus the excitement.

This comfort zone is not tiny. It’s filled with fear of judgment…fear of doing it wrong…fear that the idea I’m excited about is dumb…and on and on.

However it’s a new day…and I have decided that I intend to be the kind of person who chases wild dreams…who honors the gift of my ideas…who sets others free by the pain and imperfection of my own life.

I will not live another day in fear of failing and I won’t die an unlived life! The more I truly live…is the more open I will become.

The first step in telling a better story is to ask “What if?”

Today is the day I’m setting myself free and giving birth to my true self! –

Let Down that Heavy Load

remembering hurt

As I pry my fingers off of all the hurt I’ve been carrying…some from perhaps when I was maybe two or three…the actual chain of events…vague…but the pain…raw and real…I’m thinking that we can only let go when we learn.

I’m not suggesting painstakingly rehashing events. What I am suggesting is that we let our pain speak to us and define for us…what is that need not being fulfilled. When we don’t fill ourselves with what we need…love…recognition…a need to belong…we fill ourselves up with food…overindulgence…distractions…including being busy all the time…yet we are never satisfied.

This learning never comes in the form of weekly scheduled lessons. It can happen in an instant.

Stay with the pain. Cry. Laugh. Be curious. You will know what is true for you. And when you touch that truth kernel you will feel the relief of bobbing to the surface and taking a long breath…because you have been underwater for so long.

And in that instant you will know…life as you know it won’t be the same again.

Not speaking from the balcony…but in the trenches. Today I choose joy once again and i thank yesterday’s pain for the light it brought to my life. Thank you 💜

How do you Heal?

all natural remedies

Often we need to take a step back before moving forward.

Most of all we need to listen to what our soul is trying to tell us.

Crying clears everything up for me…it washes away my pain…and moves all mental debris clogging up my ability to see.

I need space often to think and create.

I need to talk it out just to hear myself and my thoughts out loud.

What’s frightening now is a new adventure that I am conceiving. I’m comfortable with the way I’ve always done things yet my soul says it’s time for a step change – a significant change in my life.

Fear wants to immobilize…ego is colluding…but this dragon will no longer remain tethered to the dismantling remains of a life that no longer works.

December…oh December…this new decade is almost upon us! Carpe diem the living daylights of time left here on earth.

I want to see your talents and gifts being shared…I want to share my own.

This difference we seek…starts with us.

It’s time…BEGIN!

What Stories are you Telling about your Life?

this was once a seed

What story seeds are you planting? We are all telling a story about our health, our finances, our relationships…What story will you tell?

Will it be one that is heroic and empowering?

You can be honest about all that you have experienced and done, yet still write a story that will help you feel that you are strong, wise, and learning.

It’s time to leave old stories behind. It’s time for new storytelling. Consider all you have learned, give yourself credit for the wisdom you have acquired, and begin replacing any stories of scarcity…with abundance