by Hannah Wood
Hugo is a Levels Certified Business Coach, a father of three, and a man who is full of wisdom when it comes to leading a successful life and business. I got the chance to sit down with him recently and attempted to do the impossible – condense his years of experience and expertise into a few top tips.
And impossible it was indeed. The main thing you take from a meeting with Hugo, however, is the sense that everything is connected when it comes to success – there is a powerful link between personal and professional growth. As Hugo says, “develop yourself – we are not the finished article. Read, watch, listen – find a style of learning that works for you but make sure that you develop yourself.”
So how exactly do we do that – the elusive task of developing ourselves?
According to Hugo, it’s a daily effort. “We often try to compete with people around us. That sometimes can be a difficult journey because we always feel like we’re less than successful people. We just need to look at ourselves. Am I better than I was yesterday? Am I better than I was last year? If we are always comparing ourselves to people who have been there, sometimes it can be discouraging. It can be inspiring, but it can also be discouraging. If you try to become the better “me” tomorrow than you are today, I think that is what success is about. Success is making a better you.”
Effort, individuality, and positivity are the threads that run through the metaphorical tapestry Hugo weaves as he talks to you. I imagine it’s the same whether you’re a client, friend, or one of his daughters. In his own words, he advises, “don’t try to be anybody else. You’re unique.”
“I’ve got a set of skills and talents that I want to develop and you’ve got a set of skills and talents that you want to develop, and there is no better or worse – it’s just different. So what I say to my girls, because I have three girls who are completely different, is that I dont want them to be me. I want them to be them. But I want them to be the best possible them.”
Individuality and effort seem to come across in everything Hugo does. Yet what I took away from this chat with him above all else, is the importance of properly understanding positive thinking. He says he applies it to all areas of his life, whether it’s as a business coach, father, elder in the church, or playing squash. “Sometimes it’s so easy when you lose a game of squash to say, ‘ah, well, it wasn’t my day,’ or, ‘I didn’t feel well’ or ‘my opponent tried to trick me.’ Actually it’s about asking, ‘what could I have done differently? Maybe I could have slept better the night before or maybe I should not play squash if I’m not feeling well.’
In Hugo’s own journey of personal development, he came across a quote from Jim Rohn: “don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better.” Hugo expands on this – “don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenges, but wish for more wisdom. Sometimes people say that when there are challenges or setbacks, I normally come up with an opportunity out of that. (And some people hate me for that probably. My wife definitely does.)”
“One of my former neighbours got stuck at Schiphol airport in a storm, and I know she loves Dutch sausages – we bring them back for her from Holland. So she was having a go on Facebook about the storm and about being stuck in Amsterdam and I just dropped a comment – it said ‘well, at least you can enjoy your dutch sausage with curry sauce and onions!’ And I had a conversation with her afterwards. She said, ‘I was fuming in that hotel being stuck there. And you posted a comment like that.’ I said ‘yeah.’ She said, ‘you made me smile.’ I said, ‘well that was the idea. It was not to wind you up. I shared an opportunity with you that you had as a result of you being stuck in the airport. It didn’t make it less hard and I didn’t want you to take your disappointment away. But it’s about looking around and saying, ‘ok, what’s the best I can do?'”
So then, is there a misunderstanding about positive thinking? “I think sometimes people say, ‘just think it’s all going to be positive and the world will be alright.’ Well, I’m a realist too. I know that we live in a broken world; I know that things aren’t always going right. But then answer my other question. ‘What can I do today to either use that situation or turn it around?’ And I think that is the same in business as well.”
Whether it’s life or business, Hugo’s tips on realistic positive thinking can go a long way. There’s a reason most of this blog post is quoting him – it’s because he’s spent so long developing his way of thinking and living, and no one can explain it better than he can.
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