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Just do it. Again and again.

I’m not the greatest fan of the global sports company, Nike. There have been big questions asked about their manufacturing ethics, for example.
What I do celebrate is Nike’s brilliant advertising slogan, ‘Just Do It’, which has been at the forefront of the company’s powerful messaging since 1988. ‘Just Do It’ describes someone taking the initiative to improve their own fitness, at whatever level they start. It means taking personal responsibility. Most of all it means being persistent.

Being persistent is the power of repeating and repeating activities, in the knowledge that they will eventually bear fruit. As a golfer, I know that my swing will not one day magically improve all by itself. I have to put in the time, again and again, to practice. Eventually I will achieve another small step forward in improving my game. To succeed, every human activity requires persistence – the capacity to return many times to the same set of...

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Who coaches the coaches?

IMPORTANT: If you are a Coach, first check in to my new Coach Assessment page.

There’s a very old TV commercial for Volkswagen, which won the gold prize at the Cannes festival in 1964. Well before your time (and mine too!), but it asks a great question: “Have you ever wondered how the man who drives a snow plough, drives to the snow plough?” The answer was that he used an ultra-reliable VW Beetle, of course. I’m interested in the philosophy of the question, and how it applies to my own work, because how does someone who coaches others find their own coaching? In other words, who coaches the coaches?

Ultimate goals


There are very few activities where we can say the ultimate goal has been reached by someone. Perhaps walking on the moon, or climbing to the peak of Mount Everest for the first time. But then later there will be someone who walks on Mars, and there are many people who have ascended Everest, only quicker, or by harder routes, or without oxygen,...

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Dig that goldmine

matyas zaborszky read May 17, 2020

Lately I have been asking clients and colleagues to do something very simple, and at the same time very enriching: read books. Not just any books, but those great business writings, and motivational pieces by successful entrepreneurs that we can all learn from. My reason for insisting on the importance of such works is that it has come to my attention that many of my clients are – at best – only vaguely familiar with books that have been fundamental steps in my own business life. My job is to coach and help startups and new businesses reach their potential. It is therefore my duty to continue with the process of trying to convince you to read!

Squeeze that book

Many people understand that reading can be a useful, but then they ask me, ‘So how do I do it?’ That’s a simple question, but a good one. If you simply ‘dip in’ to books as a form of entertainment, or to ‘kill time’, then you’ll only get a fraction out of them that...

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Information is not knowledge

We live in a time when we can access information more easily, and more quickly than ever before. Name any topic – any topic at all – and we can find information about it with just a few mouse clicks. Most of the time those few clicks will be enough to satisfy our curiosity, or the need for a basic outline of a subject. We don’t feel the need to go any deeper, and a three minute YouTube tutorial will usually be enough to help us feel informed. 

Information is not knowledge however, and while we are drowning in information, knowledge is getting rarer. Knowledge comes from real experience, and our putting the work into truly learning about a subject. We expect professionals – for example doctors – to have studied their subject in great depth, over a long period of time. A three minute YouTube info video on brain surgery isn’t going to make the grade! And yet, in the world of the entrepreneur and new businesses, I am often surprised to find that...

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Read to win

I love books. I love the smell of them, the feel of them. I love adding post-it notes to indicate passages that are particularly useful to me. I love using my special Caran d’Ache pencils to make notes in the margins. I love returning again and again to favorites, old friends that I take down from my bookshelves and savor. Right, I guess you’ve got the message: Matyas is rather fond of books!

I read novels on holiday, but the rest of the time the books I read are all business-related, or from inspirational writers. It’s a habit I started as a teenager, and have never looked back. I knew then that the world was a very much bigger place than I could ever fully explore, unless I drew on the experience and talents of others. And that’s what I have been doing ever since, reading books with dedication, and thoroughly. I read books as part of my business practice, and my whole education process. Yes, I went to university, and yes I have been in business myself for...

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Show up and do your best

“History is written by the winners.” It’s a quote you’ll find in various forms from Napoleon, Churchill, Nehru, and even the writer Dan Brown. Do you agree with the idea?
Another version is, “History is written by the people who actually show up.” Well for sure that’s true. Think of those thrilling scenes within living memory when the fall of the Berlin wall was witnessed via live global TV, as it was pulled down piece by piece at the hands of the ‘ordinary’ people who showed up. If they hadn’t shown up, the wall would not have fallen. OK, something similar might have happened, but the events that history records are unique exactly because those brave citizens were there.

First or second?

This also applies to business, and history is full of examples of people and companies who either ‘got there first’, or who instead became the ‘also-rans’. Few people now celebrate the creation of the...

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The Vegas effect

It all feels so unreal. Sometimes you can’t tell if it’s day or night. There are cocktails available at any time, you’re losing money every minute, and there’s all sorts of entertainment to distract you.
No, I’m not talking about coronavirus lockdown, but a visit to Las Vegas. Anyone who has ever been there will be amazed at the way everything is designed to make you forget ‘normal’. The concept is that you go into a dreamworld, and now many of us are in danger of entering a similar state in our own homes, as we attempt to continue with ‘business as usual’ but in very unusual circumstances.
What can we do to snap out of the dream and establish some methods of dealing effectively with the situation? I have some suggestions. 

Solo or sharing?


In part it depends on who you are sharing your ‘Las Vegas’ with. Perhaps like me you have a family, and the children don’t quite understand that just because their...

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Looking for an endpoint

What’s the biggest problem right now? It’s fear. Fear has spread around the globe, just like the coronavirus itself. Fear is infecting everyone. It has infected businesses too. Why are we fearful and anxious? The simple answer is because we do not know when this will end. A month of the current stasis is serious. Half a year, and we are all into entirely new and unknown territory. So we are most fearful because we do not know when this crisis will end. We have no endpoint.

Here’s a picture for you: We have all been forced to jump out of an airplane in mid-flight. It seems to be in danger of crashing. Maybe it’s night time and we can’t see how far it is to the ground. Some people have parachutes, others don’t. We’re shouting out to each other, asking who has a parachute? Can you help? And if we do get help, will we land on the ground, or in the ocean? How far will we have to swim if that happens? Yes, it’s a scary picture, and...

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Learn To Change

In general we humans aren’t great at dealing with change, even though we claim to like new things in our lives. Not really. We like the certainty of the same things in the same place, every day. New stuff is maybe for the two weeks we go on vacation, right?

So the global situation we now find ourselves in is profoundly upsetting for the vast majority of people. Businesses are being rocked to their foundations, because businesses are about people, and rely on people. In a matter of weeks, free movement of people around the world has almost ceased, and the knock-on effects of that grow worse day on day. But I guess you don’t need me to tell you this, because we are all living through it.

Challenges and changes

In a survey I have just run, asking businesses to comment on the challenges and changes they are going through as a result of the pandemic, the number one fear was around the business going broke, game over.
The number two fear was around liquidity, and having...

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Re-mapping peak lifestyle

In the mid-19th century world trade relied on fast sailing ships which crisscrossed the globe. They were powered by the winds, and relied on huge sails made of cloth. If you were a sail manufacturer, you were doing great business. Then in one generation, iron steamships appeared, and the business of sail-making was pretty well trashed. Now digging coal for the steam engines was the business to be in. By the turn of the century ships were running on oil and coal was on its way out. Halfway through the 20th century, the airline industry was starting to kill off shipping.

And so it goes: constant change, the fall of old industries, the rise of new ones in their place. History offers the same lessons: That when change comes it can be decisive, and offer no route back to the old ways. The First World War (and the Spanish flu pandemic after it) brought unprecedented change. In more modern times, the fall of the World Trade Centre towers changed the way states asymmetrically combat...

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