Thursday, July 9, 2009

Little Willy...

I have an apology to make. Its been a while since I have been able to write a new Blog post. Things have been really busy lately and I have been coming to terms with an awful truth. You see, as I have already mentioned in my past Blog posts, I have been on the waiting list for a very special car. It’s the new R35 Nissan GTR. And about three weeks ago, after more than 12 months of waiting, I took delivery of said motor car.

So you would naturally assume that I would be happy and excited driving this super-car everywhere like I had stole it myself, but no, that’s not the way it has been. Firstly, after that length of time of waiting, you tend to have a lot of time to ask yourself a lot of questions. Questions like, do I really need it? Did I choose the right colour? And the big one – why do I want a super-car?

Secondly you have a lot of time to ponder the answers to those questions. Take the last question for example, why would you want to buy a super car? Well there are only two reasons, either you have reached middle age and you are in the full scale grip of a crisis, or you have a very small willy.

At age 33 its hard to be in a middle age crisis, the age keeps moving forwards, but I recon that middle age is currently around 50 or so. By the time I am 40, that would have moved to 60 and when I was 18, middle age was 25, but whatever it is, I don’t think that 33 could be justifiably called ‘middle age’

That’s a shame, because it means that the reason I purchased this car was because I have a very little willy. Which as you can imagine is a truth that will take some getting used to. I have not really thought too much about it up until now, but it has been a while since I seen the little fella and I am not even obese yet. How depressing is that? Well, since I am answering my own questions, I can truthfully say its very depressing. Sometimes I think the only good that could come from this is that I could get a new job as an agony aunt for Subaru and Mitsubishi Evo drivers, if you could call that ‘good’.

So its just as well that summers here and that means it’s time for the annual BBQ for the Concept 2O™ owners. For me its an opportunity to catch up with old friends and get to know the new operators better. But of course the benefits run a little deeper than that.

It is a rare chance to use the enthusiasm and experiences of others to help top up your own motivation. Sometimes you can get caught up so completely in the ebb and flow of your own business that you forget just how much fun being a business owner can be. The BBQ is just the opportunity to refocus and just enjoy the enthusiasm that others have for their businesses and find out all the new developments, let me just give you a few examples.

If you have been receiving our newsletter you will know the story of John and Jane Carty, both of whom are registered as profoundly deaf. Just short of a year or so ago, John and his wife picked up their brand new Concept 2O™ system. obviously they had very specific and specialised requirements and that is always difficult to accurately predict the outcome of such things. However, at the BBQ they were able to share their tale and shocked many operators with the success they have seen. Their vehicle is full of work and they still have so much work coming in, they now have to sell excess work regularly. Both are doing well materially and emotionally.

There were also operators that were moving on to their second vehicles with even more contemplating a third vehicle. Some operators that are local to each other are combining forces into a larger business and taking on partners to help share their success and some operators who were part time at the last BBQ who have now turned full time. Excellent.

Two operators got married, another two couples had their baby’s, a little girl called Isabella, and a new baby boy called Logan, welcome to the world both of you! There were also two new doggies bringing the total to three. Our puppy Blue Belle was more than happy with that.

All in all it was another very successful day and so much was shared by all. This week I approached work refreshed and exited to move our business even further forward despite being handicapped by the smallest willy in the organization.

Events like this make you wish that you network with like minded individuals more often, and we will no doubt work on making more events during the year to facilitate this. In the mean time, two events have been planed, a meal in the south of the country towards the autumn and a new group that meet in South Wales and Bristol that meet once a month to exchange ideas and to brainstorm.

As always, if your not yet a Concept 2O™ operator, come on in, the waters hot!

For further information contact Julie or myself on 01495 240 640

Best Regards

Carl Phillips

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I don't like carrots...

Whippets, nice looking doggies but, damn-it, they are so stubborn. Now those of you who have read my last Blog know that Julie and myself have a new addition to our family, Blue Belle our puppy. But as is the case with most drop dead gorgeous women I find on the internet, just because they are pretty, it doesn’t mean they are easy to live with. As it turns out, whippet pups are no exception.

Every time, and I mean every time you ask, tell or order it to do something, she laughs in your face and carries on eating the TV remote, the sofa or your brand new Nike trainers you bought because your getting fat and need to loose weight. She even has the cheek to look at you, then walk up to said valuable object and then start chewing.

Strangely, if it was just the chewing, I could deal with it. Google said puppies grow out of that. But she just wont listen to anything. No ‘walking at heal’, no ‘leaving’ no ‘sitting’ no ‘rolling over’ and the only version of ‘paw’ you’ll ever see, is her version of the ‘two finger salute’ when you ask her to do any of the above!

So, what do you do? its simple, read every book, article and Blog posting you can find on the subject.
Interestingly, as it turns out, a good woman’s stubborn nature is not the only thing that dogs have in common with people. Almost all the articles I read stated that - I needed to find the right motivation for bell. I needed to find out what makes her tick, what she really wants. In blue belle’s case, it was simple. Food. She will wash the dishes, vacuum the floor, and do the weeks shopping if you motivate her with treats.

You would not believe the difference it has made to our doggie. Training her is so much easier, in fact it’s a joy! I was so impressed with the difference it has made to her, I started analyzing what motivated me and if I could improve my performance and the performance of my staff based on the same principles.

However people are a little more complicated that that. You see the trouble is, there are a number of different ways of motivating yourself and others. I have split these up below-

1. Fear motivation
This is the first and by far the most common of all motivation techniques. Do this or else… there is a reason why fear motivation is the most common. It works! The downside is that it doesn’t work for long. Back when I was working by myself window cleaning, I always worked harder when I knew I had a bill to pay. I would put in two or three really hard days and would find the money to pay the bill.

Unfortunately, fear motivation doesn’t last because eventually the pain of the ‘or else…’ becomes less than the pain required to avoid it. In other words, if all I was working for was to pay bills, I would soon find myself totally unmotivated. It will eventually have the opposite effect.

2. Incentive motivation
Commonly referred to as the carrot and stick method this. You see something that you would like and so you go for it. Awesome motivation for you, your staff and doggies. Unfortunately, this type of motivation also suffers with an issue or two. Firstly, we have to have the right type of carrot. Usually (but not always!) this is money and the trouble with that is that the more you have the more you could do with. You soon start to see that the struggle goes on and on and you are always chasing your tail. Excuse the pun.
Another problem with the carrot and stick method is that eventually the person you want to motivate, even if it is yourself will get to eat the carrot, in other words you will have to find new motivation frequently. If you don’t, you will again find that the pain of chasing the carrot is worse than the pain of not having the carrot. This form of motivation doesn’t work for me because I don’t like carrots. Finally;

3. Growth motivation
So here it is then, the ultimate form of motivation. Personal growth. Humans have a built in need to better themselves. Think about it. Why do we really want the new house, new car and a successful business? Isn’t it really about proving to others and ourselves that we have worth? Material possessions are just the outward reflection of our success and in themselves are meaningless. They do not make us happy. What makes us truly happy is that having these things means we have accomplished something. We have grown and matured as people.
If this point needed further evidence, every parent I have spoken to has had this goal; To provide the things for their children that they never had. The desire to improve is hard wired into us and everything we do follows this. The very best news is that by following a program of self development, all the other material things come naturally as we hit goal after goal.

At Concept 2O™ we believe, that we provide the best business tools to start your successful business adventure. But we also believe that that a community of people that think as you do is an invaluable asset as you start to personally grow, people who like yourself, want to grow their business and become successful at the ongoing process of self development.

For further information contact Julie or myself on 01495 240 640

Best Regards

Carl Phillips

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Its big, black and furry and I be afraid of it!

I am 32 years of age. Julie my lovely other half is 30, and any married man knows what that means… kids. According to Google, women have something called a bio-logical clock?? but I don’t have any such thing, I ve checked.

The inter-web says; thirty is the age where women think they need to have a child. Currently we don’t have any kids, all the children I ever see are already taken so I gave up looking a long time ago. But Julie didn’t.

If you have read any other of my Blog posts, you will realise that I am a bit of a mans man. I like playing with guns (see last post) I like fast cars and any sport with blood in it, like boxing. I do not however, like little, pink, wrinkly things that cry and poop in their trousers all the time.

The thought of kids makes me come over all queasy and I get a sickly feeling and spots in front of my eyes, so you can understand my concern when Julie approached me one quiate evening and said she wanted a baby.

I spilled my coffee and burned my winkle, I was so shocked in fact, that I may have let out a little pee as well, good job my trousers were already wet then!

When Julie stopped laughing, she told me that she didn’t mean a real human baby, she had just made a funny and really meant a puppy instead.

A puppy? Aren’t they hairy, smell a lot and have teeth? As it turns out, my assumptions were correct! They do have hair and, if you pick the right one, they have massive teeth, with sharp bits on them. As you can imagine, thoughts of walking down the street with a Doberman or a German Shepard named fang, straining on the leash ready to eat other dogs and small children was beginning to sound like a good idea to me.

So, I done the gentlemanly thing and gave her the go ahead….

Women are not nice. They know exactly what to say and when to say it in order to make us men do whatever they want. So it was only after I said yes that she told me she wanted a ‘whippet’ and was going to call her blue belle. I now know what it feels like to be mugged.

Blue-bell? Doesn’t she know what will happen to me if I run down the street calling blue bell? Even the children fang was supposed to eat would fall around laughing till their eyes popped out. I thought my life hit an all time low at the cow tent but apparently Julie thinks not! And that I deserve more punishment for being male.

But as I said, a mans sole aim in life is to please the woman hes married too and so last Saturday Julie gave birth to a fawn coloured whippet pup which she duly named ‘blue bell’

As I write this I can hardly keep my eyes open, im bare foot and I have a headache; ‘blue’ howls like a wolf all night. She also chews things; like my speakers, my shoes, trainers, and worst of all my prized possession; my acoustic guitar. Doggies like wood you see. They are also quite fond of pooping and I have become a professional at the pooper scooper thing, I can even operate it with my eyes closed and one hand over my nose.

But you know what? I actually have fallen in love with her and what’s a bigger surprise, is that Julie, for the first time ever in our thirteen year marriage, has no objections to me looking lovingly into another woman’s eyes. She’s great and for all her issues, we haven’t laughed so much in ages. Her taking a leak on Dave, our Finance guy, had everyone in stitches for a whole two days. Belle also left her needle sharp teeth marks on our Operations Managers’ nipple which was also very humorous… Quality.

I guess sometimes you can work so hard and so long you just forget to enjoy yourself so thank you Julie and thank you ‘blue-belle!’

Carl Phillips

Clear View Plus Ltd

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Is it ‘cos I is black?

Christmas is a hell of a time of year if you ask me. All them presents being given and visiting relatives you haven’t seen in ages and of course the food. Well actually, I like the food bit. But anyway, Christmas is that time of year when you re-evaluate what’s important to you and yours. Personally, me and the wifelet like a quiet time.

This year wasn’t quite as quiet as we would have hoped, in fact it was rather exciting. We nearly died you see. Let me explain. For those of you that know me, you will know I have a fetish with cars. Not an unnatural affection, I don’t find them sexually attractive or anything but I do like them. The car I have is quite a rare model golf r32 and I lovingly polish it whenever I am allowed. My Christmas tale starts with me at the wheel of my car.

I normally keep a very close eye on the condition of my car but the other week I realised that I had a break light out on the passenger side. Unusually for me I didn’t change it straight away. It was cold outside and I was warm and it’s hard to get to and the bulbs, like everything else with that car has to be ordered and well, I just thought it could wait. Well, on the Saturday after Christmas, the 27th , me and Julie decided to go to the climbing centre with some other Concept 2O™ operators. We had a good time and drank a lot of very nice coffee. When it was time to leave we mounted up and rolled out of the climbing centre quite happy and content.

I had to pull sharply out of the entrance way because it’s a blind bend but to my horror, there was a police car on the opposite side of the road. Both officers looked into the car as we passed and then turned in the road to follow us. It’s not a nice feeling having that kind of attention from the police is it? And, so we quickly run through everything they would check just to make sure we were safe. We were quite confident that the only thing that we could be pulled on was the brake light, which I was expecting a quick telling off for.

It was a little strange though, because the police kept following without pulling us over. There were many twists and turns on our way home and they kept close but no flashy lights or anything. Maybe they just liked my rear end. Julie does.
So I carried on into my street and up onto the driveway. I didn’t use the foot brake for the whole 4 miles preferring to slow down with the gears. An old trick my dad taught me just in case my brakes ever went. But I had to use the foot brake on our drive and as I did, the police 4x4 screeched to a halt, blocking our car in and the flashies went on.

We turned off the engine and got out. I was ready to start apologising for my lighting discrepancy when we were met with a rather unusual response -

“Armed police, place your hands on your heads!” you say what? He repeated his command loud, to the point of screaming and then the Mrs and I suddenly became aware that all the police were in a defensive position behind their vehicle and they were holding guns. Not just little guns either, MP5 sub machine guns.

“Put your hands on your heads or we will fire” oh bugger, these guys weren’t messing about. So well we, err, put our hands on our heads.
“Interlock your fingers and SLOWLY get on your knees!” we looked at each other and slowly got down on our knees. Well what else are you supposed to do! I couldn’t help thinking this was a bit heavy handed though. But if I was in any doubt, the south Wales police soon cleared that up.

From out of nowhere, a further three armed response vehicles turned into our street with sirens blazing and lights flashing and then came the air support helicopter, which kindly hovered about thirty feet above us. Helicopters are loud and quite windy at that height.

Thirty seconds later I found myself hand cuffed face down on my driveway, with four armed police pointing their rather impressive looking weaponry at my head while two more cautiously approached my car pointing the mp5’s firstly in the car and then slowly opening the boot, only to find my puffer jacket, my sub woofer box and a mars bar I was saving for an emergency situation.

At this point it gets a little real, because I could hear Julie getting upset. So what do you do? Well I started shouting taunts and threats at the highly trained tactical officers. Needless to say they weren’t too scared of an unarmed, handcuffed man face down on a driveway, but I swear to God, I would have given them a nasty bite on the ankles… 10 minutes later and in front of all my neighbours we were unceremoniously shoved into separate vehicles and questioned. Ten minutes after that and we were left standing in the street waving goodbye to our newly acquired friends. Apparently, someone had reported armed men in balaclavas waving shotguns out of a car similar to mine. It wasn’t us though, we were sipping lattes in the climbing centre cafĂ©. Yeah, nice one, thanks guys.

Over the rest of that day, there was a mixture of emotions starting with excitement, its not every day things like that happen, well not to us anyway. All the way to the sheer danger of the situation. What upset me most was the fact that there were live rounds in the guns and the police were pointing them at my wife. Good job neither of us had a backpack is all I can say!

Seriously though, if there was ever a case where details are important, this was it. The police didn’t run checks on the number plate to see who owned it and the registered address. They took no notice that they were in a 4x4 and I was in a powerful sports saloon and could have outrun them at will if I was a real baddie. And I should have got the brake light fixed when I had noticed it out. All were small things but they could have led to a tragedy. By the way, I’d just like to thank the south Wales police, tactical armed response units for not killing me. Appreciate that.

Business is exactly the same. So I’m here on my first day back to work, working my way through a list of jobs I should have done ages ago but were just not important enough. Trouble is, you never know how these things can mount up and turn into something ugly.

So my humble advice to you is to watch the details because they count apparently.

PS. Sliver R32 for sale, good runner, mint condition fully loaded….

Carl Phillips
Clear View Plus Ltd