Deflated, directionless and lost

Christian Simpson



A guest blog from a totally practical business coach, mentor and teacher  

She said she’d lost her “mojo”.

Despite reaching a major milestone in her entrepreneurial career, here she was, lacking the very drive, hunger and focus that had got her there.

It was last Friday.

I sat in a room with forty or so business owners observing a “hot seat” conversation between this lady, Dianne, and her mentor.

Dianne’s business has grown significantly in the past couple of years, to the point where she proudly announced it had a million in the bank for the first time.

A significant achievement. One you’d think would fan the flames of her passion, drive and commitment even more.

Not so. The exact opposite was the case.

She was deflated, directionless, and lost.

It didn’t take long for the cause of the effect to be revealed. Nothing is hidden from those who have the “ears to hear”. We can’t help but communicate our issues, even though we can’t see them ourselves (it’s hard to see the picure when you’re in the frame).

Our language – not just what we say but how we say it – reveals everything.

In the course of the conversation, she revealed a bombshell.


She’d built her business by being consistently on top of the numbers. Every day she looked at the sales ledger and made decisions accordingly. She bemoaned the recently deployment of “Salesforce” (the CRM software) in her business because it “screwed up” her reporting process.

Could that be why her “mojo” was lost?


Sure, the learning curve with any new system is disruptive, frustrating and traumatic, but there was much to more to this than a short term distraction.

To be resolved successfully, our problems must be addressed at the level beneath the one at which they occur.

So what was the “bombshell”?

Dianne had already mentioned how “surprised” she’d been at how helpful it was to “write her challenge down” when applying for the “hot seat” time with her mentor. And a little further on, the moment came.

Her mentor asked if she had a clear picture of what success looks like for her and her business.

She paused.

“No not really. But I don’t think that’s important.”


There’s the problem, right there.

This lady lacked vision. She couldn’t “see” the success she aspires to.

Her mind had no image to work with. And the mind can’t create what it can’t see.

Worst of all, she held the belief that such things are unimportant.

When the appropriate break in proceedings came, I spoke into what I’d observed:

“Dianne, I’d like to challenge your thinking on a couple of things you’ve said. You mentioned earlier how surprisingly helpful you found it to write out your thoughts regarding your problem. You also said you didn’t think having a clear picture of what success looked like for you was important. I respectfully suggest that’s the issue right there. There’s a powerful proverb that states “where there is no vision, the people perish”, you think in pictures – we all do – and if you can’t see what success looks like for you, you can’t create it”.

I then suggested she write out, by hand, the future she intends to experience.

My suggestion didn’t resonate. I could tell straight away from Dianne’s demenour and facial expression that she didn’t buy into it all, or if she did, it wasn’t to the level where she’d act on my suggestion.

I understood. I wasn’t coaching her after all, I was offering a suggestion. And Dianne is very analytically led. She’s been programmed to see the world in a certain way, where hard, factual evidence reigns supreme and is all there is be trusted.

The process of visioning the future, or “imagineering” as Walt Disney referred to it, is looked upon as either unnecessary or an absurd waste of time by most business owners.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

You see, being on top of the numbers is vitally important in business. Of course it is. I’d be an idiot to suggest otherwise.

But the numbers can only get you so far.

Where there is no vision the people perish.

The statement doesn’t mean people physically perish. It means they fail to be all they could be – because they fail to use the mind effectively.

It can’t call forth what it can’t see. Show me the person who lacks an image of what success looks like in their mind’s eye and I’ll show you a a person who lacks direction – regardless of what level they’re at.

Even the busiest, hard working, relatively successful entrepreneur can soon find herself lacking direction, drive and purpose. Despite a million sitting in the bank, Dianne finds herself lacking the “mojo” that put the million there in the first place.

Where there is no vision the people perish.

Ignore those pearls of wisdom at your peril, because it’ll eventually bite you on the backside.

You are a creative being. You’re never NOT creating. Unfortunately, for most, they’re creating much of the same, over and over again, because they’re NOT conscious in the act of creation.

It pays not to follow the crowd. If you haven’t grasped that truth yet, you’ve made a diabolical career choice.

If you can’t see the “dream”, I guarantee it’ll stay a dream.

Christian Simpson is an  internationally acclaimed expert in professional coaching, transformational leader of entrepreneurs.

To share your ideas and dreams or get involved with shaping other peoples’ come and see us at the drop in in The Base Wednesdays 2-4pm.


LU start ups reach the final of Santander awards

Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards: Roomshake and @ShrimpingIt make the finals


The final of the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards will include two Lancaster University start-ups, hoping to win valuable cash investment for their start ups.

Zac Garton & Josh Jahans have been shortlisted with ‘Roomshake’ in the undergraduate category, whilst postgraduate Cefn Hoile has also reached the final five with his business ‘@ShrimpingIt’.

They will present their businesses to the Santander Universities judging panel on 1st July in London. The Enterprise Team wish them all the best of luck and fingers crossed for a LU winner!

For full details, see here.

PursUe Social Venture event

PursUe Social Venture- Event on 18th June, 9am-3pm, Faraday Lecture Theatre


Do you want to change your student experience and help solve society’s most pressing social problems as a social entrepreneur?

This one day event on Thursday 18th June will give you the chance to explore how you can solve social issues and what it means to be a social entrepreneur. The itinerary includes:

  • Social entrepreneurs sharing their experiences and journey in the field of social entrepreneurship.
  • Interactive workshops to explore skills, motivation and behaviours that characterise a social entrepreneur.
  • A chance to meet like-minded people and create valuable connections
  • Information on current opportunities available

No matter what your degree background is, or your motivation for wanting to create change, come along and pursue your potential!

Tea and coffee will be served.

Book your place on Target Connect now, and share PursUe Social Venture on Facebook.

Ad: Introductory Mindfulness Workshop

Introductory Mindfulness Workshop, Saturday 13 June


Introductory Mindfulness Workshop in Lytham, Lancs (FY8 5HW) with Dr Jan Goss on Sat 13th June:

  • 10am-1pm (£40)
  • 2pm-4.30pm (25)
  • 10% discount for bookings of 2+ people.

“Mindfulness enables us to identify and implement the changes necessary to experience greater success in our personal and professional lives and ensures  greater awareness and control over our life experience. It enhances our health and wellbeing and enables us to make informed choices that lead to positive change and growth, in order to take us in the direction of our personal and professional ‘goals’.

Through mindfulness-based coaching you can develop a set of transferable skills to sustain you on your journey:  improving focus and concentration; strengthening emotional resilience; increasing creative capacity; and mental clarity. This skills-set ensures better communication at the intrapersonal and interpersonal levels, and the balance necessary to create a life that is personally meaningful, because mindfulness enables us to be more authentic.” (Dr Jan Goss)

If you’re interested in learning more about Mindfulness and how you can apply it to your career and life, this small group meeting is the perfect opportunity. Email Jan here for more information, or visit her website here.


Dr Jan Goss is a former Lancaster University PhD student and was supported by the Enterprise Team whilst starting her business.

IEED students on BBC Radio Lancashire

Tom Young and Fraser Williams featured on BBC Radio Lancashirebbcradiolancashire2

Last week, IEED students Tom Young and Fraser Williams were interviewed by Gary Hickson on BBC Radio Lancashire about their recent trip to Silicon Valley.

Listen here to their chat about Silicon Valley, entrepreneurship tips and the launch of ‘The Hive’. (Please note, Tom and Fraser’s segment begins at 01:20:03)

Don’t miss ‘Start Up Stories’ on 11th June



'I'd have to rate an English Literature degree because the skills I used...taking information and assimilating it and presenting it for PR, marketing, business partners.'

‘I’d have to rate an English Literature degree because of the skills I used…taking information and assimilating it and presenting it for PR, marketing, business partners.’

Entertainment, wisdom and valuable career insights for all, from enterprising Lancaster University Alumni

11th June 2015, 6-9pm, Brandrigg Room (Barker House Farm)

Book now on Target Connect to secure your place.

If you’re an undergraduate or a postgraduate student ‘scratching your head’ for career inspiration, or even if you  think know where you’re heading, you can’t fail to be enlightened by what our enterprising alumni share with us at ‘Start Up Stories’.

Back by popular demand, this is a story telling event where Lancaster enterprising alumni form all  disciplines and sectors return to campus to tell the stories of their personal development journeys; transitions from blue chip careers to starting their their own businesses, making a life and a living from their research or simply fulfilling their purpose by doing something to make positive change for people.

You ‘ll learn about the highs, the lows, the failures and the learning that are the pathway to success on this winding journey we call a career, and you’ll hear it first hand from people who are doing what they love and loving what they do in their own ventures.

As a potential employee, manager or entrepreneur, you really can’t fail to learn something valuable and you might meet a future employer, a mentor or simply expand your networks.

Stories will be told to the magic of live illustration and there will be nibbles and refreshments.

Book now on Target Connect to secure your place.

This event is possible because of generous donations to the Alumni Friends Fund.

Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards- LU Shortlisted

Cefn Hoile and Zac Garton- LU Start Ups make initial shortlist


Last week, Cefn Hoile (PG) and Zac Garton (UG) were both shortlisted for the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards.

Cefn’s ‘@ShrimpingIt’, and Zac’s ‘Roomshake’ were both in the top 10 applications for undergraduate and postgraduate categories in the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards 2015. Despite a large number of applications, both Lancaster University representatives fought off the competition and achieved recognition for their innovative business plans.

Well done from us all in the Enterprise Team!

GUEST BLOG: Olly Heron of ‘Stride’

‘Stride’- everywhere you look there’s a helping hand. A story of start-up support at Lancaster University


Guest blog by Olly Heron, Co Founder and Marketing Director of Stride Innovations Ltd and LU undergraduate.

Way back in November 2014, myself and three friends attended the Lancaster Entrepreneurs’ Start-up Weekend with the simple idea for a mobile app that helped users record and share their ideas quickly.

After making it through a tough round of pitching, we worked on the idea with a team of 8 for an intense 54 hours until the time came for the final pitch to a panel of experts.

We placed second, and won flexible working space from SpacePortX in Manchester, as well as the promise of a meeting with Barclays in 2015 if we kept working on our product. So, we had a challenge: make Stride a reality.

From there onwards, we have been amazed at the support we’ve received from Lancaster University- here’s just a selection of the groups who have helped us along the way:

  1. ISS Innovation Hub: Rob Ellis, the team leader of the Innovation Hub, was a judge on the panel for the final pitch at the Startup Weekend. We met with him to get additional feedback after the startup weekend where he gave us some great ideas of what to do next- including some sources of initial funding. Rob has been a great mentor for us- willing to take the time to chat through ideas and introduce us to new contacts.
  2. LUSU: After our meeting with Rob, the next place we looked to was LUSU. There’s some big work going on at the moment to create an even better offering for start-ups at the University- but even without that in place we’ve been able to gain a huge amount of advice and some funding from Josh Dean and co. We go to go through a pitch process and created a business plan, which we’ve developed since- but this was the first time someone really challenged us to think professionally about our idea.
  3. Lancaster University School of Computing and Communications: We’d got the funding, but we were missing a crucial skill set, a developer. SCC helped us put out the feelers to students, and Stewart Kember met with us to discuss some of the general advantages and disadvantages to selecting either iOS or Android as a starting platform.
  4. Lancaster University Enterprise Team: Now we’re working on bigger funding applications, it’s great to have the ad hoc 1-2-1 support that the Enterprise Team is so readily able to give- we’re looking forward to bouncing some ideas around with the team in the coming weeks. Additionally, the Enterprise Team have provided us with some inspiration. If you’ve not been to one of their ‘Start Up Stories’ events, its time to change that (HINT: there’s one coming up on the 11th June!) Hearing from some of our incredibly successful alumni really leaves you thinking ‘what if I gave it a shot?’

So there’s just a snapshot, from one very early start up journey, and our very many helpers across the University. So if you’ve got an idea and you don’t know how to make it happen, why not reach out? What have you got to lose?

If you’re interested to learn more about Stride, follow us on Twitter at @hellostride and be the first to find out when the Beta of our iOS app is available by registering here.

Stride co-founders are:

Olly Heron, BA Advertising and Marketing, Lonsdale College

Michael Palmer, MSci Biomedicine, Fylde College

Oli Monks, BA Management and Entrepreneurship, Fylde College

Chris Cerra, BA Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations, Birmingham City University

Cast your vote for Roomshake

Lancaster start up needs votes for Virgin Media ‘Pitch to Rich’ Award


‘Roomshake’ is the mastermind of Zac Garton (LUMS) and Josh Jahans (FST), both final year LU students.

Roomshake is a platform for young professional and students to seek likeminded flatmates, with the hopes that rather than ‘auditioning’ for a room in a house with unknown, often unusual characters, young people would be able to search and select suitable living partners for a better transition into new careers and friendships.

Zac and Josh need your help to take them to the next round of shortlisting to win investment and mentoring opportunities to take ‘Roomshake’ further.

To watch a short video explaining the vision for Roomshake, and to cast your vote, follow this link.