I recently had the pleasure of meeting and introducing the very engaging Jamil QureshiPerformance Coach, Psychologist, Author and Keynote Speaker at PRogress Live’s In-House event for Heads of Communications. 

Jamil Qureshi is one of today’s foremost practitioners of performance psychology and is an expert in high performance. As the co-founder of several change agencies Jamil has enjoyed working with a rich diversity of the most talented business and sports people and teams in the world.

Jamil delivered a fast paced two hour talk on turning ambition into achievement. Engaging, evidence based and eloquent.  What’s not to like?

Here are my seven main takeaways:

  1. Make 1 degree of change: do a little bit of what you know will improve things and do it when you can remember to.  Think railway tracks and if one were to diverge by just one degree think how far from the status quo you could end up, in time.
  1. To be better at anything, work on improving your strengths. Why?
  • Increased positive emotions:.  When people are using the abilities that come naturally to them they experience satisfaction, joy, fulfilment, and pride.
  • Increased success: The same effort it takes to improve a weakness just a little can improve a strength significantly more.  People become successful by capitalising on their strengths.
  • Improved self-confidence: Focusing on weaknesses can actually undermine people’s strengths.  Trying to improve a weakness leads to negative emotions and lower self-confidence.
  1. Work on self- awareness and take time for personal introspection:  Mastering our minds can help us to weigh up situations, not get hijacked by others emotional responses and help us to keep focussed and ultimately make better decisions. 
  1. Think, Feel, Act.  We all have words and pictures running through our minds all the time and those with a growth/improvement mindset are motivated by what they seek to achieve, and this is what ultimately leads to success. The work to do is to define why you do what you do – what is your purpose? E.g. Wonderbra talk about selling confidence (not bras). 
  1. Be bold, be different, and stay future relevant.  Be curious and creative. e.g. PayPal was not set up by banks, Skype not set up by a telco, Spotify not set up by music industry – but all inspired by the value they would be delivering to consumers. 
  1. Act As If:  Ask yourself the question – if I was already XX (insert desired goal) how would I shape my diary, what connections would I make, how would I act?
  1. We can’t control events : E+R=O (akin to Stephen Covey’s Trust equation).

Event plus Response equals Outcome.

Key here is that we can control how we respond to them. If, instead of reacting, we take a deep breath/count to 10 and decide on a response aligned with our values and goals, the outcome will be better, meaning more happiness/success for us and for everyone around us!

My personal favourites are no.s 1 and 6 as they both seem to make the impossible seem possible.  I have already deployed them both and have bought myself state-of-the-art goggles and now go to bed earlier before sea swim training.  I will swim that marathon this Spring! 

What is your ambition and what will you do to achieve it?

Annabel Dunstan

CEO and Founder, Q&R