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Every morning when I get into the shower, I turn the hot and cold taps around until I find the right balance.

Not too hot, not too cold, just right.

And the day starts and I forget about the other hot and cold taps that I get to use all day long.

When spending time with my clients, I can either bring the heat, working with passion and enthusiasm, or I can be cold, lifeless, dispassionate, going through the motions.

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We all experience difficult periods from time to time.

It could be missing out on that job promotion that you were working so hard to get.

It could be a big argument with one of your teenagers.

Perhaps you’re just in a rut and feel trapped.

Times like these can make or break you.

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Those who can’t take risks are so often wary of those who can.

They criticise them.

They try to talk them out of their madness.

They find reasons to justify their own safe, ordinary existence.

To them, adventures are unnecessary and avoidable.

But those who can’t take risks are sadly unable to live to their potential.

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There aren’t many once in a lifetime opportunities.

Those moments when you’re plucked from obscurity to take your place on the big stage.

Those scenarios when the world seems to part like the Red Sea for you to walk through unimpeded to your promised land.

I’m sure that they happen, but they haven’t happened to me yet and I’m not sure that you can rely on them if you want to be successful.

Instead, we have multiple times a day opportunities.

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Iconic writer, speaker and management guru Tom Peters tells this story in his wonderful new book, The Excellence Dividend:

A man approached J. P. Morgan, held up an envelope, and said, “Sir, in my hand I hold a guaranteed formula for success, which I will gladly sell you for $25,000.”

“Sir,” J. P. Morgan replied, “I do not know what is in the envelope; however, if you show me, and I like it, I give you my word as a gentleman that I will pay you what you ask.”

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There seem to be lots of people with opinions at the moment.

Self-confessed experts who specialise in making predictions.

This team will make the play-offs.  This candidate will win the election.  This stock will rise.

Pundits everywhere and so often very, very wrong.

It’s easy to make predictions when you don’t have any skin in the game.

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My daughter Madison, was discussing her attempts at playing the violin last year.

“I was really bad,” she said.

“No, darling,” I replied, “You just were not good yet.”

As with anything, if she had stuck with it, practiced hard, listened to her teacher and persisted through those early months of incessant squeaking, she would have become more proficient.

And thankfully, since her dalliance with stringed instruments, she has found the piano, netball and cross country running, activities that she has been able to persist with and improve in.

Most of us have things that we think we are bad at.

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My two golden retrievers love coming into my office with me.

I have a nice, wide, glass sliding door that they can look out of and inspect the entire street.  They sit there, ears pricked up, taking full advantage of the opportunity to watch the neighbours (and their dogs).

It doesn’t matter to them what is going on inside the office, it’s what is happening outside that grabs their attention.

We can’t afford to fall for that trap.

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I don’t know what the next step is.

I can’t say with certainty what I should do next.

The future seems foggy and hazy and I’m not sure what is around the corner.

But I know that I can’t stay the same.

I can’t just tread water forever.

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Before you buy a horse, there are lots of important considerations.

Where are you going to keep it?

What sort of saddle and gear will you buy?

How often will you ride it?

What will you feed it?

Buying a horse is a lovely idea, but often those other aspects make it too difficult.

There are lots of other decisions that we make that seem like a great idea at first, but have other implications.

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