This week our Wellness Guru is the inspirational author Robert Kelsey, author of 'What's stopping you? Why smart people don't always reach their potential and how you can'. Robert is also the Founder and CEO of a top London PR agency, as well as co-founder of Entrepreneur think-tank 'The Centre for Entrepreneurs'. So its safe to say Robert is a bit of an over-achiever! but his willingness to share his guide to reaching your full potential is truly inspiring and i'm sure you'll enjoy his Wellness tips below.
1. Tell us about yourself Robert Kelsey,and how you got to be where you are today?
I've always been an outsider. I was a townie brought up in the countryside. Then I was the sensitive soul in the thick-skinned building industry. And then (after night-school) I was the Essex lad at university among the well-educated Home Counties set. This outsider theme has continued throughout my life, in fact (hence my latest book The Outside Edge). And it always seemed to lead to setbacks and failures. My problem was that I saw the failures as a condemnation of me, as a person. I didn't see them as just setbacks - balanced by successes.
In fact I always saw myself as somehow "On hold", as if I was waiting for someone to come up to me and say "follow me". Of course, no one did - at least, no one with my best interests at heart. So life took off for me when I finally realised only I was going to sort out my future, no one else. I started my own public relations company, specialising in an area that interested me, and started planning properly for that company's (and by consequence my own) future. It was tremendously exciting - so much so I started seeing things more clearly. The books followed.
2. Tell us how you spend your average working day
I'm at work by 7am, meaning breakfast is usually a Pret porridge. Lunch is usually a chicken salad while dinner slightly depends on the family meal at home - I get home around 7pm. I'm in bed by 10pm at the latest. I try and get to the gym every work day, though I'm probably not that efficient (reading the FT while on the cross-trainer, sort of thing). Otherwise, it's full-on work - meetings, writing, planning etc. The best part of my job is mentoring the youngsters - I get a lot out of that, offering them what I wish someone had offered me: the room to do it yourself, to succeed on your own terms, but with the gentle guiding hand (when needed) and with the fear of failure removed.
3. What inspires you?
People winning despite the odds. The Leicester City's if you like. Those that genuinely had to fight battles to get anywhere - but fight them they did. I'm the Deputy Chairman of the think-tank The Centre for Entrepreneurs, and we recently produced a report on ex-offender entrepreneurs. These were people that had been released from prison and who set up companies and, despite all the prejudices against them, succeeded. There were some fantastic stories - incredibly inspiring stuff.
4. What’s your goal in life?
I have many goals. I tend to work on a 10-year visualised timeframe, with thought-through milestones for years five, two and one. I then plan for the next year, breaking that up into months and even days. My current goals including growing my public relations business to 40 people (currently 20) while looking to get the balance right in terms of downtime. My weekends have become very important to me.
5. What does Wellness mean to you?
It means being busy without being stressed. Being valued without stretching myself too thin. Being engaged and excited while also taking time to just reflect. And it means having loving relationships with my family.
6. What advice would you give to a person looking to transform their life?
Get a plan. Visualise 10-years' hence, develop some milestones, plan for the first year and then get going - making small adjustments as you go and viewing failure as simply feedback, requiring a small adjustment. The key is to find your meaning in life - so seek the one thing that makes you unique and pursue that relentlessly.
7.Tell us more about your book 'Whats stopping you?'
I'm an an ex-journo and published author so I like to write. However, they'd been a 10-year gap from my previous book, which I'd seen as a failure. In fact I saw my life as a failure. Around 2000 I became a self-help addict but realised there was a flaw in every one of the books I read. They all took people from zero to 100. But I didn't start at zero - I started at minus 100. I needed help in unravelling how I got to such an awful place - only then could I look forward with any sense of optimism. That led me into the hands of a psychologist, where I saw the disconnect between what he said and the like of Anthony Robbins, Stephen Covey et al. I wanted to write something that connected the two - why we fail - because of our psychology - but how we can succeed: not through changing our personality but through understanding and accepting who we are and by planning for a better future. And by keeping going despite the setbacks.
8. Tell us your Top 3 Tips for Wellness?
1. Calculating what you REALLY want from your future, not what others want for you.
2. Planning that future - meticulously. Goals without plans are just dreams, after all.
3. Dealing with the inevitable setbacks - mainly through what I call Me Inc. depersonalisation (i.e. by turning yourself into a one-person enterprise).
9. So what’s next in your career/life?
The focus is on entrepreneurial activities for now - both with my company and the think-tank. Yet there are always book ideas fizzing away inside. I'd like to do something on understanding and overcoming our insecurities. In fact that's the key with me - I tend not to follow the high-five you-can-do-it school of self-help. That works until it doesn't work - and then you can collapse. They are trying to change you as a person, yet you are who you are. I'd rather focus on changing the way we look at ourselves, so we realise that the main thing holding us back is our self-condemning self-view. Turn that around, and we can start planning a better future.
Robert Kelsey is a best-selling author, founder and CEO of a successful London PR agency, and deputy chairman of a leading entrepreneurs’ think tank. He is the author of international bestsellers What’s Stopping You? and Get Things Done. His most recent book The Outside Edge adopts the same alchemy of deep research, strong insight (including personal struggles) and practical guidance to help tackle the insecurities that blunt our potential for achievement.