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The weird piece of advice I got as a kid

When I was younger my mum always encouraged me to wear clean underwear.


Was it to do with general hygiene?

Not quite…

The main reason was because of how I’d feel if I was knocked down by a bus, ended up in hospital, and was wearing dirty underwear.

Anyone else have a similar experience?

It got me thinking about how in life we sometimes follow the rules, or people’s advice, without always questioning the reason to do so.

In an increasingly VUCA world (one full of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) let’s be careful we don’t rely on an old way of thinking based upon an outdated and no longer relevant paradigm of life.

My advice…

Stay curious. Challenge the status quo. Ask ‘Why do we do things that way?’

Oh, and a bonus piece of advice…

Be careful crossing the road, and wear clean underwear.

Until next time.


The SUMO Guy

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7 ways to manage, not banish, your blues

Ever been told a lie? One of the biggest ones often told by people in the Self-Help industry is that there’s an instant cure or a quick fix to resolve life’s challenges. We’re seduced by the promise but left disillusioned by the reality.

So here’s my practical guide to help you, and those close to you, manage, not banish, your blues.

1. Hippo Time is OK, but…

What do Hippos do in mud? They wallow. It’s ok to have some wallow time in order to digest our disappointment, process our pain, or sit with our sadness.

It’s healthy to do so.

Just remember, Hippo Time is temporary. It’s a detour, not a destination.

2. Remember, feeling bad could do you good.

This is counterintuitive and controversial I know, but feeling low could be your body’s way of flagging up a problem that needs resolving.

Pain is a signal. So is feeling low.

Ask yourself ‘What’s causing me to feel this way?’

3. Nature is your best therapist.

We didn’t evolve as a species to stay indoors and look at screens.

So… don’t scroll inside, take a stroll outside.

Notice the changing seasons. Listen. Watch. Feel.

4. Seeking support is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of wisdom.

Life wasn’t meant to be faced alone. You don’t need to emote to everyone, but do talk to someone.

A stiff upper lip is not a great look.

5. Don’t be a ‘Happy Clappy’ friend.

Although it can be well-meaning, telling someone to ‘cheer up’ is rarely helpful.

As the psychologist Adam Grant states, some people don’t want to be told to look on the bright side, but they do want to know you are by their side.

6. You don’t have to feel great to do good.

Feeling low can be the catalyst for intense introspection, which can leave us feeling disconnected from our outside world.

Showing kindness and support to others – even when you don’t feel like it – can boost your sense of self-worth.

7. Limit your consumption of C.N.N.

Consuming a daily diet of Constant Negative News, via the media or your mates, is the perfect cocktail for lowering your mood.

If you eat crap, you’ll feel crap. The same goes for what you feed your mind. Remember that.

Which of the seven most resonated with you? Who could you share these ideas with?

Until next time


The SUMO Guy

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12 things I’ve learnt after over 50 years of making mistakes

I’ve been on this planet nearly 60 years and made multiple mistakes. Let me share 12 insights that I believe will genuinely help you in 2023. It’ll take you less than 2 minutes to read.

I might even add a bonus at the end 😉

1. Remember, the only real apology is changed behaviour. Words are cheap. Actions are priceless.

2. The best gift you can give someone is your undivided attention. Aim to do it at least once a day with a partner, child, friend, or colleague. Listen to understand rather than waiting for your turn to talk.

3. When you’re communicating with others your aim is to be clear, not clever. The smartest thing to do is to get to your point.

4. People who never take a break end up breaking. Remember, to be at your best you need to rest.

5. Sometimes it’s best to walk away from conflict. When you wrestle a pig in mud you both get dirty. But the pig enjoys it.

6. Avoid making a mountain of assumptions based on a molehill of evidence. Seek the story, not the snapshot.

7. Consistency compounds. Small steps are no small thing. Little things matter. Never forget that. (Inspired by my mate Rob Wall.)

8. The opposite of love is not hate – it’s indifference. Relationships don’t magically happen. They take work. And time.

9. Every day we wake up with a choice. We can focus on what to grumble about or focus on what to be grateful for. The choice you make will influence how your day unfolds. Choose wisely.

10. If you don’t make time for your wellness you may be forced to make time for your illness. Let me be clear… I’m aware some of us are unfortunate to suffer serious health challenges that are out of our control. Not all health issues are related to lifestyle, but some are.

11. Beware of making a long-term decision based on a short-term emotion. Press pause. Give yourself time to process stuff, and talk things through with others.

12. Remember, a comfort zone is a nice place to be – but nothing grows there. It’s easy to become set in our ways, so challenge yourself to do something different. That’s where the growth is. And you never know, you might end up enjoying it.


13. What we say at funerals we should say at birthday parties.

Which ones resonate most with you?

Until next time.


The SUMO Guy

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Three items for your ‘Save Your Sanity’ starter kit

Life can throw up countless challenges, but what can we do to help ourselves and others navigate these difficult times?

Here’s three items for your Save your Sanity starter kit:

1. Limit your exposure to news. 

Treat your consumption of daily news as a light snack, not a state banquet. You might even try a three day fast from it. If anything major happens, like the UK deciding to keep a Prime Minister for longer than three months, your friends will let you know.

2. Plan happy. 

Draw up a list of activities that put a smile on your face – preferably ones that are legal. Then write a list of names of people who always make you feel better about life when you’ve connected with them. 

Now look at both lists and ask yourself: How often do I do these activities and connect with these people? If you think you don’t have time remember this phrase from Ed, one of my SUMO team:

 ‘Self care isn’t an indulgence, it’s an investment.’ 

We need to have things to look forward to, no matter how small. So don’t hope for happy times, plan them.

3. Focus on what’s achievable. 

It’s easy to become overwhelmed with issues that are out of our control – so be very intentional about focusing on what’s in your control.

For me, that means aiming to walk a minimum of 10,000 steps a day. I’m also very deliberate about what I read and listen to. If you’re a fan of podcasts can I recommend these two in particular: The Infinite Monkey Cage with Brian Cox and Robin Ince, and The High Performance Podcast with Jake Humphrey and my friend Damian Hughes.

So what’s in your control that you can do every day to help yourself?

There are countless other tools and ideas that form our ‘Save your Sanity’ self help kit, but there are three for starters.

Which one is most important for you to focus on right now?

SUMO on Social Media

Don’t forget, you can get a healthy dose of inspiration from me on TikTok, Twitter, or Instagram @theSUMOguy. Or check out my longer videos on YouTube.

Until next time.


The SUMO Guy

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Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

There are a number of myths about change.

One is that people don’t like change.


I know plenty of people who change their jobs, move house, buy a different car, get a pet, try out new holiday destinations, switch energy suppliers… the list is endless.

Perhaps when we say we don’t like change we should add the caveat: when the change wasn’t our idea and we’re not in control of how or when the change will occur. 

That can be tricky, I admit.

But perhaps we don’t help ourselves when we face change with such lame mottos as ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.’

Well firstly, you’re not a dog. And secondly, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

So when it comes to embracing change, it’s more an issue of mindset than age.

As a result, I’ve decided to take my own advice and over the coming weeks will start posting videos on TikTok for the very first time.

I’ve been told it’s a young person’s platform. Good. I hope young people can pick up some ideas and inspiration that helps them in life. And maybe a few older people will too.

Could I have seen myself doing this a few months ago? Did I ever think I had the desire to expand my work on (what is for me) a new social media platform?


But you can teach an old dog new tricks, and I’m excited by what this change holds.

So what about you?

Is there an area of your life where curiosity could be cultivated, and some changes made?

Let me know.

Until next time.


The SUMO Guy

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How to help a friend… in only three words

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram (both @theSUMOguy) you may have come across my recent post:

The key to thriving is co-operation, collaboration, and looking out for each other. 

Maybe it’s more ‘Survival of the friendliest’ than ‘Survival of the fittest.’

It got me thinking.

What’s one simple way you can be a friend and look out for someone?

Well, one way is to simply do this:

Listen without interrupting.

That’s right. No need to provide a solution or hijack the conversation and make it about you.





Is it hard to do?


Would it be weird if you did it all the time?


But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s not worth being more intentional about allowing others to talk, rather than simply looking for your opportunity to speak.

Now of course we need to interact. Asking questions and sharing your perspective is all part of everyday conversation, and that does mean you’ll interrupt sometimes. 

But there are times when people just need a good listening to.

And when you do so – without interrupting – your silence could be music to their ears.

This week, why don’t you try to do a little less interrupting and a little more listening? Can you think of anyone you could try to do this more with?

Let me know how you get on.

Macmillan Cancer Support

You may remember that we decided as a business to donate £1 to Macmillan Cancer Support for every copy of my books sold during December 2021.

We had hoped to raise in the region of £700.

Well, it seems you bought quite a few of my books. The total raised was actually £1,934.

Thank you so much to all of you who bought one of my books – doing so made a real difference.

Until next time.

Remember and practice those three words. Listen without interrupting.


The SUMO Guy

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Four Signs You’re Close to Burnout

At a time when some people feel overwhelmed, overworked, and overcommitted (and when our love of technology means we’re often overstimulated too) the chances of burnout significantly increase.

Before I mention some possible signs to be aware of, please let me stress the following:

It’s how often and how long you experience these symptoms that truly indicates if you’re close to burning out.

Four signs you’re close to burnout:

  1. You have lost a sense of satisfaction with your work and your relationships. We all have challenges at work and with people, but when was the last time you felt a sense of satisfaction from any aspect of your job and truly enjoyed the company of family and friends.
  2. Trivial things make you disproportionately angry. Not just on some days, but every day. On a scale of 1 – 10, where 10 equals death/the end of the world, most things seem in excess of an 8. When you’re constantly stressed and complaining over trivial things, it’s usually a sign of a deeper problem.
  3. You’re working long hours but you’re actually less productive and effective. Perhaps it’s not just the hours you’re putting in, but the quality of what you’re putting into those hours that’s the real issue.
  4. You’re becoming increasingly critical of people and life in general and find yourself continually complaining and questioning the motives of others.

Remember, we all have bad days and may occasionally experience some of the above. If that’s you, you’re human. But if those symptoms are something you can relate to and they show no sign of ending, please be courageous enough to ask for help.

Talk to someone. Go online and research what resources, books, podcasts etc you can access. It may be that you seek professional help.

Above all, be kind and compassionate with yourself. The last 18 months have been particularly challenging, but with the support of others we can get to a better place.

Hope is always on the horizon.

I wish you well. If you know of anyone who may also benefit from reading this, please link them to it.

Catch up soon.


The SUMO Guy

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Are you using these free training videos to help you and your team?

You know that phrase ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch’? Well I’d like to challenge that statement.

Over the last few years I’ve been developing my YouTube channel. Click here to check it out. It’s full of videos on all sorts of topics, including:

And you can access them all for FREE – although unfortunately lunch is not included.

You can share them with colleagues, friends and family – and the only thing it will cost is a short investment of time. 

You also have my permission to use them as part of your own internal training to support your team.

Of course, if you’re after some longer sessions, delivered in-person or virtually and tailored specifically to your needs, then drop an email to

Our most in-demand session is ‘Ramp Up Your Resilience and Boost Your Wellbeing,’ but I’m also delivering sessions on ‘Leading Through Uncertainty‘ and ‘How to Survive and Thrive in Challenging Times.’

Until next time.

Hope SUMO makes a difference.


The SUMO Guy

P.S. If you want to keep in touch via social media, you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter @thesumoguy.

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When you change the frame you change the game

I’m guessing most people have seen a painting by Leonardo da Vinci called the Mona Lisa. 

Can you picture it in your mind now?

Now imagine seeing the Mona Lisa in a pink frame with bright flashing lights.

It has an impact on how you view the picture, doesn’t it?

And yet interestingly, the picture didn’t change. Just the frame.

I’m challenged to reflect on this idea when I think of the impact of the pandemic, and particularly its effect on young people.

Some parts of the media frame the narrative of the experience for young people with phrases such as ‘the wasted year,’ ‘a lost generation,’ ‘missing out on opportunity,’ and ‘irreparable damage.’

It’s as if news editors have all morphed into Frazer, the Scottish character from Dad’s Army.

Remember his catchphrase?

‘We’re doomed!’

(If you’re of a certain age you may need to search for him on YouTube.)

The fact is what we and young people have experienced has been incredibly challenging – I don’t deny that.

But that’s not the whole story, and neither is the future we all face set in stone as a fait accompli.

Here’s the deal.

The future isn’t a place we get to, it’s a place we get to create.

And how we frame our present helps create a picture of our future.

Have the last twelve months been awful? Yes. But have they also provided examples of inspiration, compassion, innovation, adaptability, and opportunity?

Have they also given people a chance to reflect and reassess their priorities and what is truly important to them? Absolutely. 

If we frame the future as one of desperation and doom, we risk causing as much damage to our mental health and that of our young people as the pandemic itself.

I’m not preaching a gospel of naivety or blind optimism, but if we’re to take good from the bad, and hope from the hurt, we need the courage to change and the willingness to collaborate in a way we have never done before.

This generation can be shaped in a positive way through all we’ve gone through. But whether that happens or not depends on how we frame the experience.

Just remember:

When you change the frame, you change the game.

Until next time


The SUMO Guy

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Bite-size wisdom… Your 17 for ’21

Happy New Year! I recognise that for many of us the current challenges we face both personally and globally can seem incredibly disheartening, and I don’t intend to make light of all we’re facing.

As I see it, the reality is this.

There’s much we cannot control in our outer world – but there is some good news. 

We can positively influence our inner world.

To help us do so, I’ve come up with 17 bite-size pieces of wisdom that have helped me over the years. I hope they help you too.

1. Happiness is a by-product of living life well. It’s not a destination.

2. The serious stuff that screws up your life could ultimately be the best thing to have happened to you.

3. Focus on serving something greater than yourself.

4. Enjoyment doesn’t always have to be connected to achievement.

5. Be careful. You can have success without fulfillment.

6. Seeds of self doubt will inevitably spring up. But you don’t have to water them.

7. Back yourself more often. And remember: You can teach an old dog new tricks.

8. We’re flawed beauty. Despite messing up, we are still bloody amazing.

9. To be at your best, you need to rest. Rest isn’t work’s opposite – it’s work’s partner.

10. Be careful you don’t allow your brain to filter the positives into your spam folder.

11. Every day is a ‘choose-day’. Your daily decisions, however small and insignificant they seem, do make a difference over time.

12. Resilience isn’t simply your ability to recover from a fall – it’s understanding why you fell in the first place.

13. Elvis had a point – ‘a little less conversation and a little more action.’

14. Exercise energises you. Stand Up, Move Often. (See what I did there?)

15. Knock the pursuit of perfection off its pedestal.

16. Words create worlds. So be really careful what you say to yourself.

17. Treat yourself well and cherish others.

Do let me know which ones are especially helpful for you right now.

Wishing you well, and hoping SUMO continues to make a difference.


The SUMO Guy

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