What really counts?

A friend of mine recently asked if I knew how to make videos go viral. I’m no expert, but one involving babies or cats might do the trick.

But it’s interesting how we can be caught up in the trap of chasing the numbers isn’t it? How many ‘likes’ on Facebook and Instagram, views on YouTube, and followers on Twitter.

I tweeted the following recently:


A lot of people engaged with it, and the tweet was featured in both the Evening Standard and the Evening Times in Glasgow. But my life hasn’t changed, and I’m guessing neither have the lives of the people who read it.

I’m reminded of a quote from the sociologist William Cameron (although it’s often wrongly attributed to Einstein):

‘Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.’

I do post a lot on social media, and have some new videos on YouTube (see below for more details). But my focus is not ‘How can I make them go viral?’ but ‘How can I best add value?’

In our day-to-day lives both in work and at home what we do can make a difference to others.

What we do counts.

It might not get many views or likes from others, our actions may go largely unnoticed by the masses, but believe me, they matter.



Bite-size motivation for everyday life

Don’t forget to check out my latest videos. Recent topics include:

3 Things You Can Do When You’re Having A Tough Time

How To Stop Stressing Over Stupid Stuff

Why I Think You’re M.A.D.

They might not go viral, but I hope they add value. I’ll be releasing more videos regularly, so make sure you subscribe here to see them first.

Keep making a difference.


The SUMO Guy

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Ever suffered from the curse of comfort?

How prone are you to ‘the curse of comfort’? That place where you feel good, feel comfortable, and maybe even feel you’ve arrived. It’s an alluring destination. But I think a dangerous one.


Complacency can creep up on us. Our routines can become ruts. We start coasting through life unaware that we’ve grown flabby on familiarity.

Don’t get me wrong. I like to feel comfortable. I enjoy the familiar. Sometimes.

But I’m also aware that although change is inevitable, growth is optional.

Sometimes I need a wake-up call. Someone to rattle my cage and help me overcome the curse of comfort.

You see, it’s so easy to stick to what you know. To play safe. But perhaps the biggest risk to us leading fulfilling lives is when we stop taking risks. Have our comfort blankets become straight jackets?

Only you can decide, which is why your answer to this question could be incredibly revealing.

‘Where do life’s opportunities really lie? Inside or outside your comfort zone?’

It’s good to take care. But do you know what?

It’s also good to take risks.

Until next time….


The SUMO Guy

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The worst and most unhelpful quote you’ll ever read

I don’t get annoyed so much these days. My road rage is a thing of the past and I gave up stressing about the state of my daughter’s bedroom years ago. But a quote a friend posted on instagram recently did annoy me. It went as follows:

‘What does it feel like to be so weak that mere words hurt you?’

You see, I don’t subscribe to the motto ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.’ Try telling that to someone being bullied at school, home, or their place of work.

Words are powerful. Words change worlds. They can damage and devastate, but equally they can inspire and motivate.

Please don’t fool yourself that they don’t matter. They do.

I had to have a rather dodgy looking mole on my body checked out recently. My doctor was worried about it. Imagine how I felt when I heard the words of the consultant after the examination.

‘It’s not malignant.’

Even though the words were positive I still felt emotional hearing them.

So be more mindful of the words you use, not just with others but also with yourself. Of course we need to challenge and be critical when necessary, but allow space for kinder, more compassionate conversations too.

Words matter. Massively.

Until next time.


The SUMO Guy

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The game you’re guaranteed to lose

Now if you’re an England football fan reading this, you’re probably already thinking you know the game they’re guaranteed to lose.

When England play Germany.

And it goes to penalties.

But I was thinking of a different one.

It’s when you play the comparison game.

That’s the one you’ll always lose.

Perhaps rather than comparing ourselves with others (which the influence of social media seems to exacerbate) we’d be best served by focusing on being the best version of ourselves instead.

And that’s it.

Be the best version of you and make sure you’re having some fun in the process.

That seems a far more worthwhile game to play.

And it’s one you can win.


Enjoy the summer if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere. If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, have a good winter, safe in the knowledge that it’s still probably warmer than an English summer.

Not that I’m comparing.

Have fun.


The SUMO Guy

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Ever encountered a TOAT?

I’m sure most people don’t wake up in the morning and intentionally think ‘Who can I annoy today?’

To some people it just comes naturally.

An individual who I can find to be particularly annoying is what I affectionately call a TOAT. They’re people who Talk Only About Themselves.

You rarely have a conversation with a TOAT. It’s more like attending a one man (or woman) show, where the spotlight is solely on them and you are merely the audience. You end up knowing a lot about them – but it’s unlikely they know much about you.

Now I understand that for a lot of people their favourite subject can be themselves. But perhaps it would benefit our relationships with others if we at times withdrew from centre stage and allowed someone else the spotlight.

You see, TOATs have one big problem. They lack self awareness. Maybe they’re blessed with friends who are good listeners, or whose lives are less exciting than theirs.


But I’ve yet to come across a relationship that wouldn’t have benefitted from some mutual sharing, and where listening isn’t just simply waiting for your turn to talk.

Maybe we’ve all fallen into the trap of being a TOAT at times. I know I have. But hopefully it’s only occasionally.

I don’t want to make a career of it.

What about you?

Remember to share the spotlight.


The SUMO Guy

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A foolproof way to avoid criticism

A bit like my physical stature, I’ll be fairly short this month (clearly my physical stature is fairly short every month).

The more I experience life (nearly 53 years on the planet now), and whoever I work with, in whatever country, I’ve come to the following conclusion.

If you want to avoid criticism it’s simple. Be bland. Be boring. And blend in. If you want to stand out and make a difference, be bold. 

Whatever time I have on this planet I’ve decided I don’t want to skim over the surface of life, pussyfooting around in the hope I don’t offend people. What legacy is that?

Give me living life boldly any day.

Of course I’ll mess up on occasions, and maybe upset (however unintentionally) a few people along the way. But hey, it’s better than the alternative.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Until next time, remember to be bold.


The SUMO Guy

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Is it time for the Drama Queen to abdicate?

SUMO bowie

Ever heard phrases such as these?

‘It’s a total nightmare.’

‘I’ve had the day from hell.’

My guess is that if you have it wasn’t because you’ve been working in a refugee camp or delivering foreign aid to a war torn country – you’ve simply been eavesdropping on conversations at work.

It does seem that increasing numbers of people have developed a taste for the melodramatic. But so what if they have.. it’s not doing them any harm is it?

Well, actually it might be.

Creating mountains out of molehills can make us lose perspective. Our internal and external conversations can actually fuel our anxiety and ultimately disempower us.

Life throws enough challenges at us as it is, but if we’re not careful, how we frame these challenges and talk about them can weaken our ability to tackle them.

Yes, I realise there are days from hell, and nightmare scenarios, but thankfully for most people these are rare.

So let’s not create a drama and a crisis out of a situation that, at worst, is probably only tricky or challenging.

And if you are going to abdicate from the role of drama queen, perhaps take up the part of the hero. Most plays only have one hero… but I prefer David Bowie’s take on this:

We can be heroes.’

You see, it’s the small daily actions and decisions each one of us make that will ultimately make a positive difference. And no rehearsals are required.


Looking for a speaker for your next conference or event?

Do check out my website: www.theSUMOguy.com to discover the impact my services can have on your organisation. Especially this page.

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Are you suffering from the effects of passive moaning?

A friend once said to me, ‘I don’t know why people moan – it never changes anything.’

I was inclined to agree. Whilst having a moan can help get things off your chest, perpetual moaning without actually ever taking action never results in any change.

And on one level I still believe that.

But I’ve also come to realise this.

Continual moaning does change something extremely significant.

It changes you.

You see, what I think and talk about on a regular basis will affect how I feel. That’s why recalling a positive memory from the past can cheer you up in the present.

Likewise, thinking and talking about something negative will also affect you.

The reality is that in some cases we can be the biggest sources of our own misery. And all because of what we choose to think and talk about.

And moaning doesn’t just change you. It can affect those around you – the people you live and work with.

We’ve become aware of the dangers of passive smoking, but be aware we can equally be affected by passive moaning.

So a good old moan occasionally is probably healthy and helpful. But when it becomes a daily habit you’re not just damaging yourself, but others around you too.

Until next time.


The SUMO Guy

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Ever been crushed by criticism?

I was once running a public seminar and a small group of attendees approached me about a particularly tricky member of their team. In a nutshell, they wanted my advice on how best to deal with this person.

My first question was ‘Well what have you done so far?’

Their reply staggered me.

‘Well we’ve tried the obvious.’

‘The obvious?’ I enquired.

‘Yeah – we’ve tried humiliation. But that didn’t work.’

Just think for a moment. I wonder what it was like to be on the receiving end of such an approach?

Giving feedback is a skill, particularly if it needs to be challenging and could be labelled ‘criticism.’

I’ve certainly had my fair share of criticism over the years, and I’ll be honest – it’s never easy to receive.

However, the danger is that when we receive criticism we react in two extremely unhelpful ways.

Either we simply choose to ignore it and dismiss it immediately, or we obsess about it to the point that it can become debilitating.

In my book Self Confidence I offer some advice on some questions to reflect on when you receive criticism. I appreciate a lot depends on the context of how and when the criticism is given, but I hope at least one of the following proves to be of value to you:

  • What were the other person’s motives for giving it?
  • Can I understand their perspective?
  • Which, if any, of the criticism was valid?
  • How defensive was I when receiving the criticism?
  • What can I learn from both the criticism and how I responded to it?
  • Would it be appropriate to thank my critic for their comments?

Giving challenging feedback is never easy. And some people do an appalling job of it.

Likewise, it can be hard to be criticised no matter how well intentioned it may be. But simply dismissing it or obsessing over it can be equally damaging.

Remember, criticism could be one of the greatest gifts you receive. Just make sure you handle it with care.

Until next time.


The SUMO Guy

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Twelve Nuggets of Wisdom For 2017

If you’re like me you get bombarded with information. But I realise it’s not more information I need – it’s wisdom.

Between Christmas and New Year I took time to reflect on some of the lessons I’ve been learning over the last twelve months. I shared them on social media and had a huge response. I’d now like to share them with you, in the hope that one or two of them will prove helpful in the coming year… and beyond.


  1. A sense of entitlement is your enemy. Focus and hard work are your greatest allies.
  2. Some people’s biggest fear is not getting it right. My biggest fear is not having tried.
  3. Rejection, setbacks, and heartaches can hurt us. But don’t allow a temporary bruise to become a permanent scar.
  4. A great question to sometimes ask yourself would be ‘How would the best version of me handle this?’
  5. Some people can be full of crap. But they can also be full of valuable lessons to teach us.
  6. The messenger is important, but it’s the message that really matters.
  7. It’s easy to become blasé about life. To be unimpressed or indifferent because we’ve seen or experienced it so often before. So you have to make gratitude a conscious choice.
  8. Remember, it’s a big world. And it doesn’t revolve around you. Sometimes we need to get over ourselves.
  9. Quit getting caught up in the minutiae of life. If you stare at the window you see finger prints and dust. If you look through the window you see the world.
  10. We all wrestle with demons and doubts. So show some compassion to people – starting with yourself.
  11. Some people spend too long staring at screens and not enough time engaging with life.
  12. Showing appreciation matters more than you think.


Do you know anyone who would benefit from reading these twelve nuggets? Feel free to forward this email to them.

From myself and the SUMO team I wish you every success for the coming year.


The SUMO Guy

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