It’s all a question of image

For most of my life I’ve been concerned with the nature of things, rather than how they make people feel. As an engineer I was interested in whether something “worked” (met its specification). In the IT (Information Technology) business, likewise, I am interested in whether something “does what the customer wants”, although it has to be admitted, ergonomics, useability or “human factors” have a role to play here.

But now, maybe for the first time, certainly for the first time in ages, I’m most concerned with how something makes people feel. I’m in the process of starting up a small (probably very small) business. Tomorrow I’m going to talk with a graphic designer about the design for a company logo. Now, I’m not going to start waffling on about “brand value”. When you are starting up a “one man band”, that sort of talk shows you have your priorities wrong. But, I want a logo that does the right things. I want something that catches the eye, is recognisable (and distintive), and that makes people want to be interested in my product. The product in question is “Hypnotherapy”.

I have ideas about what I want. I hope they are clear ideas. I can even justify why I want what I want. The question in my mind is: how do I guess what will work with the Customers (that is, my (potential) customers)?. In this context, whether I like something is irrelevant. What matters is the way the customers react to it. Now if I were a “big boy”, I’d probably hire someone to run some focus groups (or something similar) for me. But I’m not a big boy, I don’t want to invest that sort of money. So, is it just going to be me, me the wife and the kids or something else. How will I decide? For the next exciting (?) installment (and possibly a sneak preview), watch this blog!

Procastination: an incideous problem and a dangerous enemy

Towards the tail end of last week I got round to doing something which I had been putting off. During the process of “getting round to it”, doing it and then afterward, I did some thinking about the problem of procrastination.

None of this is particularly original, but I noticed a few things:

  • The (irrational) anxiety which was present while I was putting the task off,
  • The tension which I felt when trying to force myself to do it, and
  • The way the resistance increased as I tried harder and harder (The “Law of Reversed Effect”).

You’ll be pleased to hear that I got the task done, and that it was less of a challenge than the anxiety I felt implied. In fact, part of it turned out to be a complete non-event.

The techniques I used to help myself over this particular little incident (which really was not that serious), were:

  • Simple “Self-Induced Relaxation”
  • Dividing the problem into very small parts, and then starting one!
  • Using the momentum gained to propel me into making further progress
  • Congratulating myself (with positive “self-talk”) as I completed each part
  • Rewarding myself with something at the end.

A fool with a piece of paper…

…yup, that’s me. A fortnight ago I received the letter telling me that I had passed my Diploma in Clinical Hypnosis. It has taken me this long to get round to advertising the fact. Now I can really, and honestly invite people to “look into my eyes.”

Seriously, I’m proud of the achievement. It cost a considerable amount of effort and I look forward to being able to help people improve their lives.

Standing on the escalator

How often have you been given the advice: “stop and take time to smell the roses” (or something similar)? I know that I keep on telling myself to do just that. And how often you ever stand still (physically)?

Today something happened which surprised me, and made me pause for thought. The office where I work has escalators (that’s moving stairways for anyone not familiar with the term) which join the various levels. As I joined the escalator on the ground floor, I noticed a maintenance man working with an “emergency stop” button, but paid no attention. Normally I walk up the escalator (you know, “always in a hurry”, and in any case you should try walking down an up escalator) but today I just stood there. My excuse is that I was holding a cup of tea and I didn’t want to spill it.

Naturally, I just stood there, and, lost in thought, I waited to reach the next floor. Unexpectedly, suddenly, I found that I was not going up. The feeling was strangely disorientating. Then I felt I shouldn’t be standing there, with all those other people behind me (who were doing exactly the same thing).Of course, what had happened was that the maintenance man had inadvertently stopped the escalator. I don’t know if he pressed the button, or did something else.

The thoughts which this minor incident prompted were:

  • That “standing on the escalator” or similar (in)activities gives a great opportunity to stop and gather your thoughts, and
  • That the sensation I had when the escalator had stopped was most peculiar.

Take time to smell the roses! Or meditate or whatever…