Beatrix PotterToday, 150 years ago Beatrix Potter was born and that got me thinking about her legacy and what an incredible difference she made to the world. The joy she brought with her wonderful stories and illustrations, and the amazing work she did as conservationist in the Lake District.

So I thought I a few quotes from the great lady would be ideal.

But before that I thought a quick look at her Vitality might be interesting.

In my mind, she was a Water/Wood Energy mix with a strong streak of Earth Energy thrown into the rabbit pie.

She was rebellious and independent( Wood) and walked a line between the world of imagination (Wood) and the practical world of nature, being a wife and a sheep farmer (Earth).

Throughout her life, she valued the past, was a collector of objects that represented moments in time, had an old-fashioned view on many things and was a passionate world-changing conservationist (Water).

Here are a few quotes

“I hold that a strongly marked personality can influence descendants for generations.”
― Beatrix Potter

“There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.”
― Beatrix Potter

“Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.”
― Beatrix Potter

“Thank God I have the seeing eye, that is to say, as I lie in bed I can walk step by step on the fells and rough land seeing every stone and flower and patch of bog and cotton pass where my old legs will never take me again.”
― Beatrix Potter

“I hold an old-fashioned notion that a happy marriage is the crown of a woman’s life.”
― Beatrix Potter

“I cannot rest, I must draw, however poor the result, and when I have a bad time come over me it is a stronger desire than ever.”
― Beatrix Potter

and Finally

“It is said that the effect of eating too much lettuce is ‘soporific’.”
― Beatrix Potter, The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies


Fake it 'till you make it “Sometimes I feel like a fake and a fraud, and I’m so tired of this Fake it ’til you make it existence”.

I’d like to say I felt shocked when I heard those words come out of the mouth of a well-respected international best selling author, and someone that most of us would regard as a runaway success.

But I wasn’t shocked, in fact, it made me smile. And obviously not a little smile, because she immediately asked…

“What on earth are you grinning about?”

This is what I shared with her, that by the end of the conversation had her grinning too.

Feeling a fake or a fraud is common experience. It often stems from the difficulty we have in recognising our own value, poor self-esteem or self-worth, and our tendency to compare ourselves to others. Just to name a few.

But feeling as though you’re perpetually in a state of faking it ’til you make it is predominantly driven by your Energy type.

Specifically, it’s relationship with time and how we see ourselves.

This is how it works.

Certain Energy types like dominant Wood and Fire types are always looking forward to the future, often with big dreams and aspirations.

Whereas Earth, Water and Metal types are either in the here and now, in the past, or when they are thinking about the future, it’s often less idealistic and more aligned with the current sense of themselves.

So Wood and Fire types tend to be in a perpetual state of This is how I want to be, and not This is how I am.

And that’s where the fake it ’til you make it feelings and behaviours come from. Wood and Fire Energy types true sense of themselves is always at odds with their aspirations and how they want to be seen.

When I shared that with her she said,

“Ok, I get it!”

“Because I’m an even mix between Wood and Fire Energy, that means I’m living with how I want to be”

“When I started blogging, I dreamed of having a big audience, but in reality it was my Mum and my sister. That’s interesting.”

“I clearly remember thinking I have to Fake it ’til you make it as a strategy to get me over that hump.”

“So that’s what I did, and it worked out well. I now have 1,000’s and 1,000’s of people reading every post”

“Then when I had an audience for my blog, but didn’t have mega email list, I felt a fraud and had to fake it because I was sharing the stage with all the big names who were titans in that area. And again acting and Faking it ’til I made it got me through.”

“Then when I had a big email list and massive following, up there with the greats, I knew I didn’t have a Best Selling Book. So I did the ultimate Fake it ’til you make it and put up a notice about my soon to be launched book. And wow was that an uncomfortable Fake it ’til you make it!”

“And now I have an international best seller, I’m feeling a fraud because I’m dreaming of… fill in the blanks”

“So if I’d stuck with the original vision of myself as a successful blogger, I’d be fine and I wouldn’t feel a fraud.

“The problem is my reality is always trying to catch up with my aspirations, and my response to that is feeling a fraud, and going with the Fake it ’til you make it strategy.”

“No wonder I’m tired of it, it’s a never ending cycle!”

And it was at that point she started grinning.

Internally, and to a certain extent externally, Fake it ’til you make it is a perfectly reasonable strategy to get you to the next level.

Acting a certain way can give you confidence, and get you through.

But it does come at a cost to your self-esteem because you never really appreciate who you are, and if you’re banking on the fact that at some point you’ll no longer feel a fraud, you may be disappointed!

So see fake it ’til you make it for what it is, a coping strategy that’s a response to you Energy Type, and not as a reason to feel bad, or beat yourself up.

If you don’t know your Energy type, take the The Vitality Test.

It’s free, simple and easy to do.


WE are so proud of Runa Magnus
Are you proud of Runa Magnus because she has taken consistent action and published her FIRST BOOK?

Yeah, Yeah that’s part of it …

Because anyone that knows our work at the Five Institute knows we’re on a BIG MISSION to solve the global crisis of people not getting the right things done, or paying a too heavy price for success.

But her publishing her book is NOT the BIG reason we could burst with pride at any moment!

Are you proud that a European Awarded Transformational Leader like Runa’s is a big supporter of the Five Institute, and she’s part of your advisory circle?

Of course we’re very proud to have the support from someone like Runa! But that’s not why at this moment we are bursting with pride.

Are you proud that her book Branding Your X Factor is yet another book that recommends The Vitality Test as part of our journey in business?

Yeah or course, but that’s not it… I’ll give you a clue, it’s NOT ABOUT US…

OK…Are you pleased as punch that Runa Magnus is from Iceland, and they have as a country fought back from the global financial crisis in an amazing way.

Absolutely, but for us it is far more personal.

It’s about people being recognised for their work when they step up.

The reason we’re proud as punch, as happy as a pig in a field of corn and could go pop at any moment is that Runa has…

Just got THE most awesome review of her new book in the Huffington Post

Ending with this stunning last paragraph.

“My prediction is that Branding Your X Factor will be a staple for business owners along with books such as, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. For any business owner or inspiring entrepreneur, Branding Your X Factor is a remarkable gift.” CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL REVIEW

That’s why we’re pleased as punch.

Because we all deserve recognition when we step up or do something well, and that’s what had happened!

So give yourself the recognition or recognise someone else for being brilliant.

And if you can’t recognise your own brilliance do these 2 things.

1. Get Branding Your X Factor by Runa Magnus,
which is available on Amazon or get her 2 free chapters here.

2. Take The Vitality Test; and see why Runa recommends it.

Yeah… Yeah… That last bit was about us!


Vitality Test Giving too muchMany of us working in the caring or sharing professions, or in businesses with a strong desire to make a difference, often have some issues around giving too much.

Constantly moving from giving into sacrifice.

As we know sacrifice isn’t the way it’s meant to be, plus self-sacrifice causes problems in the future with our own sustainability, and how much we can do and give on the long term.

So how do you stop yourself tipping into unhealthy self-sacrifice instead of giving?

Here’s a simple idea based on Five Energy Dynamics that I share with clients who over deliver by spending too much time with their client in a 1-2-1 session.

Step 1.

Identify the absolute outside time you should spend with a client.

Say if your normal slot is 1 hour, the absolute outside time you should spend might be 1 hour 15mins. That would give you a bit of slack in case something pops up, but avoid the 1 hour 45mins + that you perhaps end up spending.

Step 2.

Set this rule for yourself.

If you stick to that time of 1 hour 15mins you make a charitable donation.

The donation needs to be towards something that really means something to you, perhaps feeding and education a child or rescuing a child prostitute, something meaningful to you. This doesn’t even have to cost you anything!

See Shake the World

You should ideally pick a charity that has very little resources, so if you don’t make that donation the charity doesn’t have any other resources to still do that giving.

If the money doesn’t arrive the giving doesn’t happen, it’s dependent on you.

Because here’s the rub…

If you don’t stick to that time of 1 hour 15mins then you aren’t allowed give anything! That’s right, nothing at all.

AND (and this is important too) you have to spend the money on yourself on something you don’t want or need.

It’s important that the rule is fixed and you stick to it!

And wow does it work a treat… your running over time will stop in an instant!

Plus even more get’s given in the long run.

Charitable giving… made easy!

If you want a simple free way to give that is powerful, life changing and easy I recommend Shake the World powered by B1G1

Or take it up a level join the B1G1 family of businesses doing good, we have!

The Vitality Test and Five Energy Dynamics

In Energy terms this over delivery is a common problem for people with a dominance of Earth Energy in the Five Energy Dynamic profile.

To find out your Five Energy Dynamic profile and if you have a dominance of Earth Energy, take The Vitality Test here

If you’ve already taken The Vitality Test and want to understand why this method of controlling giving to much works in Five Energy terms, read on…

new full five energiesIn Five Energy terms, every Energy ether Feeds or Controls another Energy. Each Energy Feeds the one next to it and Controls the Energy two away. So this is an example of Wood controlling Earth.

The fixed rules, with no flexibility (extreme Wood) controls the over caring Earth Energy. The Wood Energy boundaries are what the persons Earth Energy needs to get back in balance.

To find out your Five Energy Dynamic profile, take The Vitality Test


reducing stress in organisational change When you are creating change in an organisation, you can’t assume everyone has the same needs or will have the same response. Plus you always need to keep new stress to a minimum!

How can you recognise and predict an individuals likely response, meet their needs and reduce their stress?

This is where the Vitality Test™ comes in…

The Vitality Test™ measures your unique balance of five distinct Energies as identified by the ancient Chinese; it’s your inner Energy blueprint and determines how you see and respond to the world.

We refer to this balance of Energies as your Five Energy Dynamic profile.

As well as determining how you see and respond to the world your dominant Energy gives you an Unanswered Question.

A specific question you constantly need to know the answer to.

When you are under stress your Unanswered Question is nearer the surface and becomes more important to you.

The Unanswered Question for each Energy type is…

Am I safe or is it safe (Water types)
Am I free or do I feel trapped (Wood types)
Am I loved or appreciated (Fire types)
Do I understand or am I understood (Earth types)
What’s missing or incomplete (Metal types)

The bigger the change within an organisation or community the more stress there is and the more important these Unanswered Questions become.

So make sure you answer the Unanswered Questions for the Energy types in your team when you’re doing any major change with in the workplace, if you don’t you’ll loose them in the process or put them under more stress.

Never good!

To find out your Energy type and your Unanswered Question take The Vitality Test™

Was that a helpful post or do you recognise you live with an Unanswered Question?
Please Leave a comment


Donald Duck blog

If Donald Duck was to take The Vitality Test what would what would that tell us about him?

And how would that explain his bad temper and grumpy behaviour.

Donald Duck was born in the great depression and in the early cartoons he was portrayed as the poor hard done to victim that the big guys were trying to put down or control. He was often doing works he hates or resents.

Donald also had three nephews in the cartoons: Huey, Dewey, and Louie. He would often be trying to control, and sometimes be really mean to them.

This is the first big clue about his Five Energy Dynamic, the ancient Chinese way to understand your personality.

Wood Types can be victims but they can be persecutors.

And we see that playing out in lots of his cartoons.

Often this Wood Energy trait appears when someone is under stress.

This victim, persecutor and temper runs through most Donald Duck cartoons.

As the animator Fred Spencer has put it:

“The Duck gets a big kick out of imposing on other people or annoying them, but he immediately loses his temper when the tables are turned. In other words, he can dish it out, but he can’t take it”

Five Energy Dynamics is a powerful way to understand and predict how someone will respond under stress and what makes them stressed.

Wood types hate to be trapped.

With Donald we are seeing him behaving as a victim or persecutor because he is under stress and trapped doing something he hates or resents.

Poor old Donald!

Wood types can have issues around being angry or a bad temper.

The other thing Donald Duck was well known for was his irritability and temper, which again is a Wood Energy trait, and again appears when someone is under stress, especially if things are not going their way or if they are trapped in a certain situation.

Wood types can be very easy going people.

Donald Duck was constantly wanting to be extremely laid back and relaxed about things, the other side Wood Energy.

Wood types can be extremely relaxed, easy going and very laid back about things but only up to a point.

Think of how flexible and bendy wood can be in nature. But try to make it bend too far and SNAP!

We see this relaxed and then snapping nature with Donald.

Wood types don’t like to be pushed around.

The world had a habit of pushing this poor Duck around. Poking him until he lost it in a fit of temper and anger.

Don’t try to push a Wood Energy type, they won’t like it, and they won’t like it if they see you pushing other people around either!

Wood types feel bad about being cross.

Donald would always feel bad about being cross and loosing his temper.

That’s a typical Wood Energy trait too, feeling sorry for loosing control.

Wood type are inventive and love a plan.

And then there was his inventions, or his plans.

In a lot of the cartoons Donald Duck would often be working away at something, some grand invention, idea or plan.

Wood type are stubborn and determined.

And then something like a chipmunk would try and stop him, but he wouldn’t give up no matter what happened.

Oops there’s that Wood Energy bad temper again!

But then the situation would always end in the same way… with him loosing his temper and control in a fit of quacking.

Are there any of the other Five Energies in his personality profile?

Fire Energy?

Well I don’t think he was a great communicator! Far too much quacking!

Earth Energy?

I don’t think he was very understanding or a team player.

Metal Energy?

He wasn’t really looking for what is missing or efficient ways to do things.

Water Energy?

He wasn’t fearful, but he was fearless at times, but that was normally when he was about invent something, again a Wood Energy trait.

He was a slight reflective dreamer but only when he was try to relax and unwind from all the things that were trying to annoy him, which a Wood Energy thing to do. So even though we can see what appear to be Water Energy traits it’s just more of his Wood Energy at work!

Donald didn’t take The Vitality Test but his Five Energy Dynamic profile is clear to see.

It’s clear Donald Duck is a dominant Wood Energy Personality, but a bad tempered one!

So on to the burning question of the day…

Why was he so bad tempered and grumpy?

Donald Duck’s main problem was that in the early years and cartoons he was rarely doing what he loved. He was working for some task-master or doing something that was a chore. That blocked his normal flowing Wood Energy and made him grumpy. He was forged in the great depression and that was his character from then on.

If you have lots of Wood Energy in your profile, don’t get trapped in something that you don’t like, or you’ll end up grumpy!

If you don’t know your Energy Type take The Vitality Test. It’s free and fun…


IMG_2057Much of the wisdom about the Five Energies came from the ancient Chinese observing nature. They used nature to explain and understand the world.

Yesterday I worked with a client and used nature to explain why they needed to especially mindful about assessing the likely success of their new venture.

When a seed sprouts, timing, location and the environment are crucial. If it gets it wrong then it’s game over. Too early and it’ll be caught be a frost, too late and the competition is too strong.

A bulb has a second chance, if it blows it one season, then it’ll have enough reserves to have a second go next year, but its reserves are limited.

A tree can get it wrong year after year, if the blossom gets caught in a frost the tree doesn’t die, it just doesn’t bear any fruit. But it’s still business as usual.

After I had heard this chaps new idea, I felt compelled to point out that his idea was a seed in an uncertain world. The amount of money he was borrowing and the amount of equity he was putting in meant if the business idea failed then it was game over for his main business and his family.

How many times have you watched Dragons Den and the budding Entrepreneur have their house, savings and their family’s money in a bright idea?

Wrong timing, wrong location or wrong environment and it won’t work, and they’ve lost everything.

With a lesson from nature and a little re-engineering of this chaps idea we ended up as a bulb. If it failed he’d have tested the market and learnt something, but he’d have a second or a third go and still survive.

The Five Institute is blossom, if it doesn’t work and the world isn’t interested my other businesses won’t fail. My partners and me would just have to go back to the drawing board and find another way to share this wisdom.

So try your best, push the boundaries of possibilities and expand, but know if you’re growing Seeds, Bulbs or Blossom before you start.


worried people

We often think of illness as the body’s failure to do something, whereas in reality it is more often than not a process of obstruction, blockage or over production.

The ‘Big Three’… Heart disease, cancers or strokes aren’t based on a weakening of the system but something blocking or getting stuck in an unhealthy pathway.

What causes the system to become stuck?

The common one is stress, and if you’re looking at stress in the ‘world of work’ it’s middle management that takes the brunt of this.

They’re being squeezed from above and pressured from below.

If you’re at the top you have different pressures, but often they are in your control and they don’t tend to create stagnation (unless you’ve been promoted above your competencies) and if you’re in the lower rungs then you leave your work when you head off home.

For middle management it’s different, they’re stuck in the middle with no where to go. It’s important if you’re in that position to keep a perspective, and the best way to do that is to recognise what really matters!

And how do you do that? Take a break!

As for Entrepreneurs, that’s a whole different story as to what leads to stress and stagnation, and that’s why we do what we do at the Five Institute.

What’s your stress as an Entrepreneur?


Hands touching frosted glass. Conceptual scream for helpToday I was given a practical lesson in stuckness, acceptance and flow.

I left home at 5.30 this morning to head to Brussels to be interviewed by the wonderful and truly inspiring Lilou Macé as part of her Juicy Living Tour 2014.

I had in my head that we were going to talk about getting unstuck, getting in flow and making the right things happen. And then it all went wrong…

My interview was at 2.30pm and my train was scheduled to arrive in Brussels at 12.05pm, plenty of time to arrive in the right frame of mind.

12.00 the train stops just outside Brussels with an electrical fault on the line. We were stuck… No problem I thought, lots of time. After 2 ½ very very hot hours on a train with no power, lights, cooling or air we were very slowly towed into Brussels station, just as my interview was meant to begin.

I jumped into a taxi whilst apologising to Lilou on the phone, and then I hit a Sunday traffic jam from hell. The lovely taxi driver, sensing I was late got hotter and more and more stressed as every light turned red, every road was blocked and enormous lorry proceeded to pull out in front of us and very very slowly turned around.

After 40 minutes into what was meant to be a 10-minute journey we both started to laugh at the ridiculous set of events that were still unfolding in front of us. From from broken down cars to ladies slowly pushing prams in front of us to a small dog standing in the middle of the road looking at us, it just got more and more bizarre.

When I eventually arrived at just after 3.15 Lilou explained she had to leave to catch a plane at 4pm and we’d just be able to squeeze in a quick interview, we talked very briefly and set off on a wing and a prayer.

So… was it my best interview? No. Did we plan what we were going to talk about properly? No. But the conversation flowed, Lilou was just wonderful… and right at the end we talked about some really important things, and it was as it was.

A lesson in recognising that flow is an internal state and not an external gift and sometimes stuff gets in the way. I did my best!

And how was my journey home? Smooth and easy


Struggling to change I’d spent quite a time over the last six months working with a client, clearing stuff out. They had too many ideas, unfinished projects and chaos.

Typical of someone with lots of Wood Energy, when they’re out of control and taking their creativity too far.

The problem was however much reality told him that doing and starting too many things all at once wasn’t the way to succeed. And was the path to failure. His feelings told him something different and he couldn’t stop himself.

His Wood Energy gave him the feeling that following every thought and new creative idea was ok, it didn’t feel chaotic and unproductive, it was exciting and an expression of his dynamic power.

However much logic and the facts told him one thing… it was too chaotic and he was doing too much. His sense and feelings from his Five Energy Dynamic told him something different, he could deal with the overwhelm.

So he battled to take consistent action and clear the unproductive chaos.

Then along comes spring in the UK.

Spring is associated with the Wood Energy, an explosive time of new growth, activity and rapid expansion. It can all get a bit chaotic.

Suddenly, it was easy.

This double whammy of his Wood Energy and the Wood Energy of the season was too much for him and his feelings changed.

Every part of his being felt overwhelmed. Suddenly his life felt too chaotic, active and out of control as spring exploded outside.

So in the space of 2 weeks we cleared, shelved and let go of projects that were never going to make him rich, happy or successful. They were just another great idea.

There are 2 lessons here

1. You may see the logic and know the facts but if your Energy makes you feel ok about it, then it’s hard to take consistent action or make a change. Change your Energy and it’ll be easier.

2. If you understand the Five Energy Dynamic matrix then it’s easy to see what to do when, going with the flow and not against it.