Play to win startling lessons for small businesses from the climbing world


Greetings, fellow adventurers of the business world! Today, we embark on a journey to explore a powerful concept that resonates in the corporate boardrooms and the exhilarating realm of outdoor adventurous activities. It’s a phrase we’ve all heard before: “You have to play to win, not play not to lose.” This mantra, which mirrors the courage required in competition climbing, carries profound lessons for small business owners in the outdoor adventurous activities sector.

**The Business Perspective**

In our quest for business excellence, let’s dive headfirst into the business perspective of playing to win. Small businesses often grapple with the allure of playing it safe, focusing on avoiding losses rather than taking calculated risks. It’s a trap we’ve all seen—a tendency to tread cautiously, like inching along a climbing wall with hesitance. But here’s the deal: playing not to lose might seem sensible, but it has drawbacks.

When businesses prioritise avoiding losses, they miss out on exciting opportunities for growth and innovation. Picture it this way: like a climber clinging to a safe spot on the wall, businesses can become stagnant, sticking to what they know and have always done. The result? Missed opportunities, potential stagnation, and the inability to scale the heights of their industry.

Jimmy Carr once told a story that drives home this point. In 2022, he presented an award to a business that invested £6,000 in marketing and made sales of £180,000. The audience cheered, but Jimmy Carr didn’t. He called them “idiots.” Why? Because he believed they should have taken a bolder risk, invested £20,000, and potentially made over half a million sales. That’s a lesson in itself—sometimes, you have to commit to a move even when unsure of achieving excellence, whether in business or on the climbing wall.

**The Climbing Connection**

Now, let’s transition to the thrilling world of competition climbing. It’s a world where climbers, like small business owners, face moments when they must commit to a move, even when the outcome seems uncertain. Just as in business, in climbing, it’s the climbers who play to win, not those who play not to lose, who often emerge victorious.

Climbers understand the critical importance of committing to a move. Hesitation can lead to a downward spiral, just as it can in business. Consider Domen Skofic’s gripping gold medal win at the 2020 IFSC Climbing World Cup. In the men’s lead event, Domen faced a challenging decision—a risky move to a small pocket that could have cost him the title. But he played to win, took the risk, and reached the summit, becoming the first climber to do so in the competition.

Or take Natalia Grossman’s triumphant moment in the 2020 IFSC Climbing World Cup in Salt Lake City. She faced a daring jump to a big hold, with the risk of a swing and missing the zone. But she, too, played to win, landed perfectly, and secured her gold medal.

These climbing scenarios beautifully parallel the calculated risks that businesses encounter. In climbing and business, decisive actions in moments of uncertainty can lead to remarkable success or provide invaluable lessons for future endeavours.

**Embracing Risk in Small Business**

Let’s talk about the tangible benefits of embracing risk in small businesses like yours, dear adventurers. Playing not to lose may seem safe, but it can limit your growth and innovation potential. Instead, consider playing to win.

Calculated risks can be the wellspring of innovation and a competitive edge. Think of companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Tesla. Netflix ventured from DVD rentals into streaming, Amazon diversified its offerings, and Tesla boldly invested in the Gigafactory. These calculated risks redefined industries and led to market leadership.

But hold on, there’s a catch. While risk can be your ally, it must be approached with caution. Small businesses need careful planning and analysis to mitigate potential downsides. That’s the crux of risk management—assess, plan, and adapt as needed.


In the end, fellow adventurers, remember this: like in competition climbing, sometimes in small business, you must commit to a move even when unsure of achieving excellence. Embrace calculated risks, step out of your comfort zone, and be willing to explore uncharted territories.

As small business owners in the outdoor adventurous activities sector, you’re uniquely positioned to blend adventure and entrepreneurship. The phrase “You have to play to win, not play not to lose” should be your guiding star. So, embark on your journey with courage, balance risk with caution, and may your small business reach new heights of excellence. Here’s to your adventurous success!

My Lizard Brain

Steven Pressfield: “Turning pro is a mindset. If we struggle with fear, self-sabotage, Procrastination, self-doubt, etc., the problem is that we’re thinking like amateurs. Amateurs don’t show up. Amateurs crap out. Amateurs let adversity defeat them. The pro thinks differently. He shows up, he does his work, he keeps on truckin’, no matter what.”

My Lizard Brain

My Lizard Brain 🦎🧠:


Do you find yourself procrastinating and avoiding important tasks? 🤔 You’re not alone! Many of us struggle with our “lizard brain” or inner head trash that tells us to put off what we need to do. 🚫 But here’s the thing: Procrastination is the disease of people with low incomes, holding you back from reaching your potential. 💪

Recognising and Understanding Procrastination

To overcome Procrastination, recognise that you’re doing it, and then work out why. Usually, it’s because we avoid tasks that we don’t enjoy or find overwhelming. 🤯 But understanding Procrastination is pivotal, and discerning the ‘why’ behind it is equally crucial. Typically, it stems from a desire to evade tasks that we find less enjoyable or seemingly impossible.

Focusing on What Truly Matters

But here’s the solution: focus on the big stuff. 🎯 The things that make a difference and move you – and your business – towards your goals. Tackling these tasks will help you grow and succeed, even if it is uncomfortable or difficult. 🌟 Channel your energy towards the endeavours that make a difference and propel you – and potentially your business – towards your objectives. Even when it’s nestled in discomfort or difficulty, addressing these tasks head-on will catalyse your growth and pave the way towards success.

The Continuous Battle Against Procrastination

Don’t let Procrastination win. Fight it with every sinew, and spend productive time on the things that matter most. Procrastination may never be cured, but you can control it with dedication. 🙌 Procrastination is a persistent adversary. It doesn’t wave a white flag quickly. The key is not to eradicate it but to harness control over it. Don’t permit Procrastination to claim victory. Combat it with every fibre of your being, and allocate your productive time to matters of paramount importance.


Procrastination, albeit a common struggle, is not impossible. You will never lose the lizard brain, but understanding its roots, focusing on impactful tasks, and maintaining a relentless fight against it pave the way towards productivity and a life that realises its fullest potential.

Five Strategies to Sidestep Procrastination

1. Break Tasks into Manageable Pieces: Divide larger tasks into smaller, achievable segments, making them less daunting and more approachable.

2. Use Time Blocking: Allocate specific time blocks for tasks, ensuring dedicated focus and minimising distractions.

3. Implement the 2-Minute Rule: Do it immediately if a task takes less than 2 minutes to complete. This small step can kickstart a productive session.

4. Reward System: Establish a reward system to celebrate small victories, providing positive reinforcement for task completion.

5. Mindfulness and Meditation: Engage in mindfulness exercises and meditation to manage stress and enhance focus, thereby reducing the allure of Procrastination.

Embark on your journey armed with these strategies, and remember: the battle against Procrastination is won through consistent, mindful actions. Let’s step into a future where our actions today sculpt a tomorrow filled with achieved goals and realised dreams. 🚀

How a 1% a day improvement leads to a massive improvement in performance. (the concept and practice of marginal gains)

Team GB Cycling pursuit team

Before I talk about the concept of marginal gains how do you want your day to go? Would you like it to be worse than yesterday, the same as yesterday or better? How ever you responded I have the solution you want; this is not my original idea I can’t remember where I first heard it, but I do incorporate into my life so here is the answer. It takes no effort to get worse results than yesterday, to get the same results as yesterday takes the same effort as yesterday, but to improve takes more effort than yesterday. So, if you are still interested in the idea of how a 1% improvement each day leads to massive increase in results carry on reading and I will tell you more.

 First of all, I would like to introduce you to Sir Dave Brailsford former Performance Director with British Cycling and currently manager of Team INEOS. In the 1990’s British Cycling was almost a joke. The men’s Olympic team had only ever one Gold, Chris Boardman in 1992, and no British Cyclist had ever won the Tours de France. However, in 2004 Olympics GB won two Golds and toped the cycling medal table in 2008 and 2012. A British Cyclist won the Tours de France in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. This remarkable change of fortune is credited to Sir Dave and his coaching philosophy and methods. The core concept of his method was that of “marginal gains”, by improving all the facets of an elite cyclist’s preparation by just 1% would produce a significant increase in performance.

A single percentage point does not seem much, it is after all only one out of a hundred but the power in this small increase is how it compounds. Over the year 1% increase daily in performance results in an increase of nearly thirty-seven times over the year! Now I know a one percent increase improvement may not be possible every day, but you only need to increase your performance by 1% for 71 days to double your performance.

Getting a cyclist to win the Tours de France is a complicated and a team effort. It requires optimisation of the bike, the athlete, and the team. All the professional teams were looking at ways of making their bikes to perform better and keeping their cyclists at the top of their game. What Dave Brailsford did was to look holistically at all aspects of the team. For example, team GB monitored how well their cyclists slept, then found the best pillows and mattress for each cyclist, they then took that mattress and pillow with them on tour. He even got a top surgeon to teach the team how to wash their hands properly. The idea was that good hygiene meant less infections, meant less illness, which meant less days off ill and so more days training. These small increases soon added up and Team GB went from a joke to the best in the world.

So how are you going to implement the one percent improvement into your work and life? It does require a mind shift because we convince ourselves that only a massive improvement is worth while. We put ourselves under a lot of pressure to come up with massive break throughs, but I hope I have convinced you that its not large changes that make the difference, but small incremental ones repeated. It is less intimidating to make change incremental, just 1 % at a time, and to give new habits time to bed in. A while back I wanted to write my journal everyday. I found it very difficult to keep the habit up until I set up a system to do it. My first task was to make some me time when I could think undisturbed and write. So, I started to wake up 15 minutes earlier in the morning. I then write my journal whilst drinking my first cup of tea and everyone else is still in bed. If I wake up late or I have a very busy schedule I make sure that I just write the date and time in my journal so that I keep up the habit. This has resulted in me never missing a day of putting something in my journal, a result I don’t think I would ever have achieved if I had started off with the intention of writing in my journal daily forever. The next task I am working on is writing for an hour a day. I am trying to come up with some ways of helping me carve an hour out of my day when I can do this regularly. Come back in six months time and ask me what I have achieved.

Over to you now. How do you want your day to go, better than yesterday or worse? Can you implement the 1% into your life, what small thing can you change or started doing to help you achieve your goal? Let me know how you are getting on and maybe we can work together to bring your dream into realisation.

Better Call Saul Business School (A guide to getting customers)

I am a great believer in learning from others, let them make the mistakes rather than me. This guide to getting customers comes from watching the T.V. series “Better Call Saul” I know its fiction but even fiction can teach us a lot about life. If you have not seen the series let me give you some background, I will try and not give too many spoilers away. The series follows the life of a New Mexico lawyer Jimmy McGill as he moves from working for his brother in the mail room to setting up his own criminal law practice under an assumed name of Saul Goodman. Jimmy has a flexible moral compass so although the principles of getting customers maybe sound his methods could be questionable and quite possibly illegal. Do I have to put a warning here, for the more litigious readers of this blog? If so, do not try to copy Jimmy McGill’s actions he is a work of fiction and will not go to gaol, but you might.

Lesson 1 Get attention. Jimmy is astute enough to know you have to make a big impact with your advertising to break through into people’s consciousness. He copies the style of his former employers’ logo and branding and positions his advert in a very prominent position. He hopes to generate controversy and get extra coverage when he is forced to take it down. This is not such an unusual approach, in my own city recently a local grocer tried the same thing. The copied the branding of Sainsbury’s Local grocery store but changed the name to Singhbury’s Local. Of course, they were not allowed to keep it when Sainsbury’s found out, but the story made the newspaper and TV and gained the greater coverage than they could have afforded. Of course, Jimmy has to take it a stage further, he has a TV crew to film the of the removal of the controversial advert, but he stages an accident to happen just as the billboard is being taken down. Jimmy is filmed rescuing a stricken worker and becomes known as a hero. The whole episode increases the number of calls made to his fledgling business. So, learn to get attention without breaking the law. Make sure that any advertising you do has a big impact and try to leverage any free publicity.

Lesson 2 Get yourself in front of potential customers. Jimmy tried traditional forms of advertising and marketing such as business cards and matchbook covers. The trouble is you spending a lot of money marketing to people who are never going to be you customers. Jimmy decided to specialise in “elder law”, so he need to get in front of old people. For a time, we see Jimmy calling Bingo in a retirement home, he also had his details printed on the Bingo cards. He was getting his face out there in front of a large crowd of old people. This was a great way for potential customers to know, like and trust him. Further on in the series we find out that Jimmy has booked a TV slot for one of his infamous adverts, it is in the afternoon during “Murder she wrote” a prime time for senior citizens to be watching TV. More notoriously he bribes the bus driver from a retirement home to allow him on the bus to pitch to the seniors as they are going on an outing. Talk about captive audience. So, when thinking about your marketing strategy find out where your potential customers are likely to hang out, offline as well as online. People only buy when they trust you, they trust you when they like you, and like you when they know who you are. This is something I do a lot, I join Facebook groups and answer questions for people, I don’t pitch because first of all its usually against the group rules and secondly people don’t react well to being pitched at by some one they don’t know. I prefer to get people to like me, then know me and I build up trust from there.

Lesson 3 Be creative. As Jimmy is setting up his practice things must be done on a shoestring budget. Restrictions cause us all to become more creative. If we want to overcome a problem, then even an artificial a budget restriction can be the stimulus for some creative solutions. Jimmy is unable to afford an expensive TV crew, production team, actors, or expensive location shots so he gets resourceful. First of all, he hires three media students from the local college main requirement for the job is that they are cheap and have access through the college to video production equipment. One of my favourite episodes is where he blags himself on to an Air Force base. He turns up with his motley crew of students, the film production unit, and an old, aged pensioner. This old gentleman has to pretend he can’t speak, he is dressed in an USAF veterans’ uniform, and sits in a wheelchair. Then when the coast is clear he gets the fake veteran to stand in front of a World II War bomber, meanwhile the students are using the wheelchair as a camera dolly. Later, Jimmy wants to a appear patriotic, so they gate crash a school playground and whist the students are in class he uses the large school flag as a prop for his posturing. In a further episode Jimmy has some TV advertising space he can’t use or can’t sell. I loved the pivot he performed here. Jimmy charges people for him to produce TV commercial but throws in an advertising slot for free. Although we can think of problems as huge roadblocks they may be circumvented with a bit of creative thinking and the lessons learned may open up to us a whole new field of opportunities.

Lesson 4 Be yourself. In series two Jimmy lands a job with Davis & Main a rather prestigious firm of solicitors. They are really keen on recruiting Jimmy they offer him the usual package, plus a rather nice Mercedes car, an apartment and desk made from cocobolo, (it’s a very expensive piece of furniture). Jimmy gets himself a nice grey suit and tries to settle in as a professional and ethical lawyer. It soon becomes apparent that Jimmy just does not fit in, his methods are not conventional. The fact that his “Worlds second greatest lawyer” mug does not fit the metric sized cupholder in his posh Merc’ is symbolic of him being a square peg in a round hole. Despite the excellent salary and large signing on bonus Jimmy conspires to get himself fired. It just was not him. People are attracted to you and your business by the image and values you portray. If you present a false image of yourself then you will attract customers whose values may not be in accordance with yours. You may even grow to hate them and the business you have made. I did some work on branding for my business and I discovered that my architype was the Explorer. Then I looked at the values of an explorer. The Explorer is constantly seeking self-realisation. They want to discover, explore and be themselves. They yearn for freedom, being able to be who they want to be without boundaries. Explorers need to have purpose or meaning in their life. By exploring and learning from the world around it, The Explorer strives to answer the big life questions such as “Why am I here? What is my purpose?” The Explorer is focused on self-discovery and self-sufficiency and achieves this through being curious, adventurous, and intrepid. This is how I see myself I didn’t realise it had a label and that there were others out there who are like me. I aim to present my business as authentically as I can but also trying to attract those who see them selves as explorers.

I hope that reading about those four lessons has been useful to you. If you have please share this post with others who may benefit from it. If you are on a journey of self-realisation as well, consider joining my email list and maybe we could journey together for a while.

Tips for surviving a second lockdown

With England going into a second lockdown from Thursday I have I thought it would be a good time to think about how you could survive a second lockdown. The first lockdown was a new experience for everybody and I for one went into overdrive, enthusiastically setting lots of targets and making lists of things I was going to do. Well it didn’t it quite workout how I planned. My enthusiasm waned as the days turned weeks which turned to months. This time around I am going to use some of the lessons I used to make it a better experience. Here are my tips for surviving a second lockdown.
1 Keep to a routine. This pandemic and our response to it is disruptive to everyone’s way of life. So, some sense of normality and routine is vital to your wellbeing. Try to go to bed and get up at your normal time. Get enough sleep eating regularly and keeping hydrated will help to optimise your health. Children can be particularly sensitive to change so try and make their day structured with set ground rules and boundaries and make sure you stick to them.
2 Regular exercise and fresh air. Exercise is often the first thing to go when your daily routine is disrupted. Exercise not only keeps you physically well but is great way to de-stress and to protect your mental health. It does to be something fancy, it just needs to be something that’s well get your heart rate up, like walking up the stairs a few times. You could plan to do some high intensity interval training if you wanted to, based on what you have around your home. This time round the weather is colder and the nights the longer but getting outside will be even better for you. The plenty little things you can do outside in the garden if you’re lucky to have one. I am lucky because I have a dog and that makes me get out twice a day to take her for a walk.
3 Add a little bit of variety. You need to have a variety of things to do to help stave off the boredom, don’t just sit around watching box sets and daytime TV. Break up the day into blocks of different activities and environments. If it’s raining and miserable like it will be this time of the year it could well be difficult to get outside but maybe change the room, you are in. Try reading a book or doing some puzzles and quizzes. Now might be a time to try and learn the new language or take up a hobby, just put little things into the day that stop it being hours and hours of the same thing.
4 Healthy eating. Just like exercise when our routine is disrupted, or we get stressed healthy eating goes out through the window. People tend to snack on unhealthy and comfort foods in such situations. Try to eat regular meals, if you love snacking during the day choose healthy snacks like nuts or fruits. A bit of variety is the spice of life, so now might be the time too spend more time cooking preparing new and unusual dishes.
5 Social media/ news feeds. Try and limit yourself to checking up just twice times the day. Although it’s useful to stay informed it’s very easy when isolated to get obsessed by the news and this can have a detrimental effect on your mental health. If you’re looking for information about the current pandemic then use reliable sources of information like the NHS, or Covid-19 by Zoe.
6 Help your neighbours. The elderly, unwell and immobile neighbours are going to be at a greater risk during this time. If you have the time just give him a call during the day to see how they are doing. Maybe when you are going to the shops for your essentials pop round and ask them if they need anything fetching. Many communities are offering setting up formal volunteering groups which you could get involved with.
7 Stay in touch with family and friends. During the last lockdown millions of people discovered new ways of staying connected, Zoom went nowhere to being even something your granny had heard of in a matter of days. So, although you can’t meet people outside your household, except for support bubbles there are plenty of ways to stay connected to your family and friends. Make sure you make time to connect with them.
8 Support your local community. Restaurants, pubs, and shops are going to take another big hit and without your support they’re going to struggle to stay afloat. If they offer home delivery service, click, and collect, takeaway why not treat yourself now again. Support your local community you’ll miss them when they gone if you don’t.
9 Look after your mental health. As I’ve already said having a routine, exercise and avoiding stressful social media and news, all help to safeguard your mental health. It is so understandable to be anxious currently especially with the uncertainty about the future, and the health your family and friends. If you are feeling as though you need help with your mental health get in touch with your local GP. They are gearing up to expect more calls like this because of the experience they gained during the last lockdown.
10 Relax. Give yourself time to have a break if you’re working from home try to keep your work in a separate place, so that you could walk away from it. Relax, I know that it’s going to be difficult particularly if you are working from home and have children supervising during the day. Most employers recognised that productivity went up for people who could work at home so maybe you don’t have to put in the same hours as you did before. So, give yourself a break don’t put yourself under too much pressure and relax.
I like to I just want to say that this is not my normal type of post but as I am concerned but the well being of people. I thought it would be appropriate at this time to help you get through this next lockdown. If having got some time for a bit of self reflection and you feel like you want to change your direction, then you can always get in touch with me. I help people to make a change in their careers. If you feel as though this article has been of value share it with others. Please also subscribe to my newsletter so that you don’t miss another blog post. Lots of love take care wash your hands where you mask and keep safe.

I can’t afford to give up teaching.

About 10 years ago when I was thinking of leaving teaching this was one of my favourite excuses amongst others was I’m too old, I don’t know what I’m going to do, and my favourite excuse was I’ve got haemorrhoids. Now I know people always they think about money and it is important. One of the things I have learned since giving up teaching was that was that I always used to spend how much money I was earning. Whatever I had was never quite enough. Just going to look at one of these excuses today and I don’t want to be dismissive about your concerns but maybe after considering it maybe you think oh there might just be a case for you to be able to afford to give up teaching.
Let us just look at it in purely financial terms first start. Do you know what all your outgoings are do you have a budget? How can you be sure that you cannot afford to give up teaching if you do not know what you are spending your money on. Soon after this leaving teaching I came across a concept cold the minimum viable income MVI for short. The first step is to look at absolutely everything you are spending your money on from meals out, to gym membership’s, Netflix subscriptions, mortgage, rates, energy everything. Anyway, once you have made a list of all the things you are spending your money on you can then workout what is essential, and what is not. Look at the ways in which you can live without the nonessential items. For me, this minimum viable income is my absolute base level of take-home pay. If I know I can enough to hit my minimum viable income, then I am going to survive the next month. As I spend most of my time as a freelance outdoor leader, I know how many jobs I need to fulfil my minimum viable income for that month, after that everything else is just a bonus. So, if you’re saying to yourself I can’t afford to give up teaching make sure you know first of all how much money you actually need, you’ll be surprised by how little it is.
It is difficult to go from one profession to another without expecting a pay cut. You have built up experience and annual increases all of which make the thought of going to the bottom of the pay scale somewhere else quite scary. However, a pay cut might not be as you think. Say for example you are looking at a £10,000 reduction in your salary, boy that does seem quite scary. It is not £10,000 pounds though in take home pay because you will pay tax on that £10,000 pounds and so you will take home about £7000 pounds after tax, National Insurance, and pension contributions. I had an initial loss of £10,000 pounds in my salary, but we soon balanced the books and in sense we now live just as comfortably as we did before. I buy food from the market now rather the supermarket. We eat less processed food and more fresh fruit and veg. Not only is the food bill lower but it is actually a healthier diet.
When thinking about leaving teaching salary pension and other benefits are not the whole equation. For sure it makes sense to look at the hard figures but there are other things that are worth considering; how much is your hourly rate, how much is your free time worth, and other benefits. Let us just look at your hourly rate. Here is an example of how you might figure out your hourly pay with all your work hours:
Teaching salary: £35,971 (M6 max)
hours worked:10 hours of work per weekday

(8 hours at school and 2 hours at home) x 5 = 50 hours of work/weekend = 55 hours per week
55 hours per week x 38 weeks = 2,090 hours per year
£35,971 salary / 2,090 hours per year = £ 17per hour (rounded)

Now let’s compare that £17per hour to what you might make at a “normal” 9-to-5 job with the same salary:
9-to-5 job salary: £ 35,971
hours worked: 7 hours of work per weekday

(assuming a one-hour lunch break) x 5 = 35 hours per week
35 hours per week x 48 weeks = 1,680 hours per year

£35,971 salary / 1,680 hours per year = £21 per hour (rounded)

While it may not surprise you to discover that your hourly rate at a normal job with the same pay as teaching would be higher, doesn’t it feel good to see the cold, hard numbers? That increased hourly rate means you earn lots of extra leisure time while maintaining the same annual salary. Crunching the numbers can also help you see that, in some cases, even a lower-paid job could be worthwhile.
I know cold hard cash it’s not everybody’s things but is worth considering. There are other things though the taking the job outside teaching give you. Just look at all that free time you know would gain at the weekends, the times where you don’t have to disappear on a Sunday afternoon to start planning for the next week. The hours in the evening that you don’t have to spend marking and assessing work. What would you do with it? Maybe like to spend more time with your children taking them to clubs or sporting activities, how about just going for a walk with your partner. Just doing those normal things that you find difficult to fit into your life now. How long does it take you to decompress at the end of the summer term before you can really relax ,then how quickly did the summer holidays seem to end, then you have to start preparing for a new year and a new term .
Sot the question I can’t afford to quit teaching should really be turned round into I can’t afford to stay in teaching. If you’re thinking of leaving teaching are you looking for help get in touch with me as I offer coaching especially for teachers were thinking of quitting their profession. It could be the first step you take on the road to getting your life back.

What transferable skills does a teacher have?

We’ve all heard that teachers have transferable skills but what are they? When this subject comes up, most teachers will just shrug their shoulders and say that they don’t know because after all they just teach. Teachers seem to be very good at running themselves down and subconsciously accept the old adage “those that do, do and those that can’t, teach”. Most feel there is nothing that they can do outside of teaching.

 Just think through your day and see the roles you perform that are not only merely instructional. You are: a social worker, a police officer, problem solver, diplomat, team worker, nurse, solo worker, entrepreneur, leader and I’m sure you can think of many more. So that you can see that during your day you have to perform many different roles each of these has a wide and varied skill set. I really do believe it’s a case of translating your skills into the language recruiters use, then thinking of examples to demonstrate your proficiency in these skills.

Here is a list of some transferable skills.

Time management



Data analysis


Time management- He would not last a day if you couldn’t manage your time as a teacher. Each day you must hit at least five critical deadlines. You need to have prepared your lessons before hand about to deliver them at the appointed time your lessons have to start and finish on time then there are the deadlines new on a weekly basis reports equipment ordering and preparation for meetings. You have to be able to adapt your plans in an unpredictable environment.

Leadership- Even if you’re still a main grade your leader. Each day you have to inspire  a group of people to buy into your a vision for your classroom and the learning that takes place there. Then there is the leading of other adults in the classroom teaching assistants on care workers.  If you have experience as a some sort of role in the department or pastoral team then you will have had experience of performance management on line management.

Communication- This is the biggie for teachers. Your job is mainly communication, you communicate with the young people, other adults in the room, colleagues, management, parents and outside agencies. You understand how and when you need to be able to change the style of your communication to suit the audience. As well as strong verbal skills you are able message visually. Salespeople need strong communication skills but they have never had to settle down a class of year nine students when a wasp enters the room.

Data Analysis – At last something useful comes of all those hours looking SISRA, SIMS and other pupil data tools.  You understand Excel will have used pivot tables in fact you most probably could make a better database than the governments own Track and Trace response to the COVID pandemic. You can read data reports and identify trends, outliers and suggest areas for improvement.

Administrative- Some might say that these tasks take up most of the time as a teacher.  So this includes; data entry, report writing, lesson planning and assessments. These are all important administrative skills you have had to practise.

I could go on about the skills teachers have. The important thing is to not be afraid of relabelling the skills you have as a teacher and showing how they match another industry’s language. You just have to be creative about it. Demonstrating creativity, there you go that is another skill you need as a teacher.

Quitting your job? Why you should make a commitment.

From time to time we all get to the stage where we want to just walk out and leave our present situation. We moan and grumble, but time just carries on. If we are not careful the days turn into weeks, weeks turn into years how and we never finish we never quit that job. I want to share with you the story about somebody who made that commitment to leave in their place of work, and then went on to do something they loved.  The person is called Billy Connolly who is a comedian, raconteur, and a folk singer. In the 1960s he worked as a welder Glasgow shipyard in Scotland This is before he became famous. This story is taken from a biography written by his wife after he became famous.  

One day in January Billy is talking to his friend Bugsy as they are warming their hands by the side of a brazier. Bugsy asks Billy about his folk singing and how it’s doing. Billy says yeah, it’s fine it’s going well so well in fact a I am thinking of going professional in time of the Glasgow fair. Bugsy tells him he will never do it. The Glasgow fair is about six months away it is a time where musicians and artists all came together and have a two-week festival all over the city. Before Billy could reply Bugsy continued the festival is six months away you get to the festival and something will come up and you won’t finish, you won’t turn professional so you leave it for another six months, then six months will turn to twelve months, twelve months will turn into years and your  still stuck here. There is nothing worse than an old guy working here who knows he could have got out when he was young but did not. This left Billy silent and if you know Billy Connolly that is an achievement. Anyway, when Friday came Billy picked up his wages and walked out. Billy never went back to the shipyard.  He did however go on to have a very successful career first of the folk singer and then a comedian who played the banjo.

When I first read this story it really resonated with me. I thought about all the times that I had just let things drift and not take any action and how I allowed time to pass by. I think the real point here is that you must make a real commitment to quit. It could be writing in resignation letter or even marking a date on the calendar something with deadline that you get to work to. There is always the option of just walking out. and talk to me quite scary. It is better if you have got a plan. If you can plan for the future, then it’s a lot less scary. By making commitment means you must take positive action. Take one small step. It does not have to be huge a dramatic just so long as its consciossly in the direction you want to go.

One action you could take, is to have some coaching. There you could find your values, motivations and even plan your escape route.  I specialize in helping people move on to doing what they love in their lives. If you are interested in taking positive action and committing to your future, then get in touch with me using the form below and I will help you.

Breaking Bad Business School (A guide for teachers setting up a business)

Breaking Bad is a television series about a chemistry teacher turns to making crystal methamphetamine as a way of earning money. I think there are some useful lessons in this TV series for those people we’re thinking of leaving their careers a teacher and want to become an entrepreneur. You could always learn by your mistakes but sometimes it’s easier to learn from the mistakes of other people even if they are a fictional characters. So, let us see how Mr Walter White goes about setting up his business in his Breaking Bad.


Is there a market for your business? Walter had a fairly good idea that there was a market for methamphetamine, his brother in-law works for the DEA and was constantly telling him about the people he was dealing with. The news was also full of people they were taking drugs. As part of his research Walter went on a trip with his brother in law on the drugs bust. While he was there Walter went inside the building to see how the criminals manufactured their products. So he knew that there was a market and he knew how his competitors went about manufacturing for that market. Walters product was not going to be a new invention but an improvement on what was already out there. Think about Uber they did not invent taxis, but they did invent a new way of getting a taxi.


You need to be able to spread your ideas around. Walter didn’t know anyone in the criminal fraternity until he met by accident a former student Jessie. Well Jesse was sort of escaping from the police via a bedroom window when he met Walter. You don’t know who in your network of people has the contacts that you might need so it’s always a good idea to ask everyone. Jesse turned out to be Walter’s way into the criminal underground. Yes he knew where to source the materials, which people he could sell to and how to sell to people he also had an idea about how to manufacture the drug himself.

Unique Selling Point (USP)

You need a compelling reason why people will want to buy your product and  not somebody else’s. You could compete on price, make yours the cheapest but this route it is a race to the bottom, or you could sell on quality. Walter decided and if he was going to take a risk then he needs to maximise his profits that meant he was going to compete on quality. His first batch was of high quality, but it was not the best he kept on trying until he was satisfied. After various iterations and a change of method Walter came up with his pure blue crystal meth. His unique selling point was the purity of his product and this was also instantly recognisable by the fact that it had a blue tinge. The fact that Walter was the only person capable of making this saved his life on several occasions. Your own USP does not have to have such lifesaving capabilities it just needs to mark you out from others.

Make your product.

This is where we get down to logistics do you need a special place to produce your product or service, what products do you have to buy it where do you source the materials do you need any special machinery ET cetera. Walter solves a lot of these problems by having a source of chemical equipment at the school, they did have to steal some raw materials, and then of course the manufacturing site was the famous 1980s beige R.V.

Bringing your product to market.

It’s no use having the world’s most perfect mouse trap if nobody knows about it and nobody can buy it. This is the area that Walter struggled with the most. He added excellent product, but people didn’t know about it. This is where Jesse and his drug dealing skills came into play. Jesse knew people and he knew how was able to sell to them. His first tactic was to allow people a free sample and then they would buy. Boy would they buy. This was okay but it was only very small scale. Jesses and Walter needed to look at getting larger distributors of the product, this took them into a whole world of organised crime. As you would expect these characters are not the kind of people who you can trust. Jessie ended up being beaten up and his life threatened. Walter did not let these encounters hold him back. He wouldn’t take no for an answer. Whilst trying to expand his network with someone who could take his product wholesale Walter arranged a meeting with Gus. The result of which was that Gus did not want to trade with Walter. No matter how many people told Walter that he could not meet with Gus, Walter persisted and forced a meeting anyway. This is just one example of how Walter would not said let no stop him.


Know why are you doing this? Walter White is a low paid schoolteacher who has to take a second job in a car wash just to pay the bills. He has a wife who is pregnant, a disabled son and also he finds out that he has lung cancer. Not living in a civilised country like the United Kingdom, which has the NHS, Walter needs to find a way to pay for all those medical bills. The dreadful realisation that death is very close it also liberates his thinking. He will he wants to leave legacy for his children. His motivation then becomes money to provide for his children and his wife. For most people, most of the time life is pretty ordinary and mundane. It takes a big shock to push us in to trying something new. It might not be as dangerous as a life of crime but your body can perceive change to be just as great threat.


Your business idea needs to fit in with your values. Despite his best intentions Walter must change his values. He moves from being a decent and honest person who does not want violence and bloodshed to be killer. Walter a becomes such a person because he values money above all else. He puts making money head of his relationship with his wife, his children, and the lives of others. So when you start off you need to decide what’s important in your life if it’s just making money then maybe the criminal way is the way to go but if you feel the other things were important to you then need to make time for them. Always remember who you love and why you are doing this.

So when setting up your new enterprise don’t forget your; research, network, USP, making your product, marketing, selling, motivation and values.

Hello world!

First Post is always the deepest except in this case. Should that have been “cut” instead of “post”.

Welcome to the yourpotentialrealised blog page, please look at the other posts I am sure you will find them more interesting and useful.

Kind regards Patrick