Friday 24 November 2017

Wanna wake up and take control of your own life?

Be it personal self-improvement or a psychological boost for your new business you're after, Grainne Martin looks at three motivational offerings

Grainne Martin

Wake Up And Change Your Life

Duncan Bannatyne

Orion Books, €10.39

How Much is Enough

Arun Abey and Andrew Ford

A&B Publishers, €22.85

The See-Saw

Julia Hobsbawm

Atlantic Books, €8.65

PASSION, energy, determination and confidence appear to be the secrets to success. These special ingredients transform even the most mundane business into a high-profit, high-value empire.

Once the business is driven with passion by the owner it is on course to be a success. Whether you are a crusading, cavalier teenager with lashings of confidence and an invincible approach to life, or a more battle-broken 50-year-old recently thrown a redundancy package, these books will inspire and motivate positive feeling, giving practical tips and interesting anecdotes.

To be successful, we need to have the ability to break down our personal barriers according to Duncan Bannatyne. Whether you are an ice-cream seller (as Bannatyne, now a millionaire, once was), an iTune producer or run a delivery company, the owner needs to be ambitious for success and be able to step over personal barriers to it.

Make your business idea simple and your financial plan even simpler. Bannantyne suggests that "cash is king" and only spend it when absolutely necessary: driving a banger is de rigeur when setting up your high-income business. A website is also essential in today's world so spend money on that. Only after the 100th sale rent an office, and after the 200th, hire staff.

A main focus in the book is on the business owner -- he is the reason why business will be a success or a failure. So, if you are the business owner, knowing you is vital to the success of your business. Know your strengths and play to them. Don't try to conquer your weakness. Instead, hire people whose strengths are your weaknesses. Qualifications or experience don't really matter, but common sense, hard work and knowing your qualities are the order of the day.

All three books selected give the much needed positive message, the Obama "yes we can" approach to life that is so uplifting in the difficult and depressing Ireland of today.

So, keep loyal to your business plan, review your progress. Honesty, especially with yourself, is vital. The four key success factors, according to Bannatyne, are: your attributes, your skills, your contacts and your environment.

The other overriding thread is the importance of solid financial advice. In revealing, amusing case studies the lack of sound financials were detrimental to excellent businesses. This simple, down-to-earth book offers great advice to the small businessman setting up his own business and also acts as a guide to getting more out of an established company by getting back to basics.

With an increasing number of people out of work and working from home, Julia Hobsbawm gives guidance and tips of how to get the most out of your day.

A comprehensive look at the work/life balance, The See-Saw promotes a healthier approach to having the time of our life, also using to great effect case studies which illustrate familiar complications in daily life, from running the house to managing a business, including helping with children's homework, attending a busy sports and activity schedule, facilitating the family taxi service to your place at the boardroom table. Advice is, for women and men alike, given in a very practical terms. Hobsbawm stresses that we all have the same hours in the day and it's just too easy to get swamped and in the end achieve nothing, or very little that you wanted to achieve.

The See-Saw explores the value of each family member and the importance of being able to delegate at home as well as at work. Giving a structure to real priorities and avoiding distractions of chatting on the telephone, web browsing or whatever can add to the hours in the day.

Managing time by meaningful "to do" lists and communicating this with family and friends offers simple and useful tips for creating a less stressed you.

Hobsbawm tackles the guilt trip head-on in a chapter entitled "The G-Spot" where she unearths the real guilt we all feel in relation to our partners, our work, our child-ren and our friends: the ever- decreasing circles of what we must do, should do, but never really get around to doing. Here we are encouraged to laugh rather than to cry, to ditch guilt and be real. There is a suggestion that we should create a time budget to see if we are living beyond our physical means.

In How Much is Enough, Abey and Ford examine how much money we need, and why, and how we use our money in the hope of achieving happiness. Given recent revelations we could ask our politicians the same question. The focus of the authors is to know what you want before making choices. How we think drives good investment decisions. It also shows how to identify your values and goals for a happier, more secure personal wealth.

The authors outline why some people are better investors than others and what drives us to invest. It shows that happy women are better investors and that men are bigger losers. It's interesting that people with huge personal wealth worry more about money than others with a modest income.

Abey and Ford explore what we really want from life. Surprisingly, we are not very good at predicting what really makes us happy. Our tendency is to find happiness from outside ourselves rather than from within. However, research shows that despite our ability to accumulate material possessions we are not becoming any happier. We do, however, fear the loss of these possessions and our personal wealth. So it's important that we get the balance right, understanding our true values and wealth as part of them.

We are groupies. Following the herd is part of our nature. We seem to need what everyone else has, no matter what the consequences. Choice and our ability to exercise it is an important part of our freedom and enhances our sense of wellbeing and happiness. Abey and Ford illustrate these points with excellent use of personal stories and anecdotes, though they could easily have included the likes of Seanie FitzPatrick and John O'Donoghue.

In summary, the message from all three books is to wake up and take control of yourself, get the balance right between personal values and happiness.

Grainne Martin is a recruitment sales trainer and motivator. Email her at

Sunday Independent

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