Imara Development Programmes


From the mouths of babes… at bath time!

Aug 17, 05:00 PM

By Joe Z Mairura

Life presents us with opportunities at every turn

Life also tests and stretches us through other people; often when we least expect it

Life itself is opportunity

Sunday 23nd July 2017 was one such opportunity

We gathered to honour my late mother-in -law Tess, by celebrating her birthday. She would have turned 83 years old if she were still with us.

But sadly, she passed on 4 months ago

We gathered at a garden centre in Cheshire; somewhere she frequently met and shared time with her family: daughters, sons, sons-in-laws, daughters-in-law, grandchildren and latterly her great grandchildren.

May she rest in peace.

Why am I telling you about my mother-in-law?

Stay with me.

It was all sparked off by an innocent but momentous comment by my 5 year old granddaughter Leila; who as you may know is an ever a great source of learning and great insights for me.

After the family gathering above, we drove back home; and Leila was stopping with us for the next 2 nights. And as is customary when she stays over, she has a shower or bath before her bedtime; and my son Zachary was doing the honours this Sunday evening.

As preparations to get into the bath began, there arose the small matter of whether Leila wanted her hair washed or not. Her mum, my daughter Claire, had asked that we wash her hair as it needed doing.

Being the 5 year old she is now, Leila ‘feigned’ resistance to the idea.

‘Feigned’, because of the way she said it

Nothing unusual there. One expects it from any child of Leila’s age, wanting to assert her nascent self-identity; by letting her wishes be known….” in other words, saying “no” even if she had no intention of going through with it.

She actually likes her hair being washed.

But it was what Leila said to my son Zachary in her ‘feigned’ refusal to have her hair washed that stopped me in my tracks.

This is what she said to Zachary; “But Mummy has to listen to Granddad because he is her Daddy”!

I bet you didn’t see that one coming Zachary; did you!

Absolutely ingenious!

She’s a smart 5 year old; is Leila. Just too smart

Zachary had suggested, as leverage to “ask granddad what he thinks” about Leila’s declaration not to have her hair washed. Leila “intuitively” responded in kind… she too using Granddad as leverage in support of her feigned position.

“I had in the space of a minute assumed the role of arbiter” between my son granddaughter and her mother’s wishes!

Over to you Granddad… you own the impasse now…!

…A dilemma of King Solomon proportions…!

And Granddad’s options?

First, NOT legitimise Uncle Zachary’s position…the consequence of which would undermine him

Second, overrule Leila’s mummy’s advice to have her daughter’s hair washed. The consequence, undermining Mummy’s authority. Not a smart strategy, nor a helpful message (learning) to Leila.

Third option, listen to Leila’s position, legitimise it, engage and get her to a position where she feels the decision to wash her hair has been arrived at, with her involvement and agreement and has been negotiated with her full participation.


Granddad and Uncle Zachary got Leila to option 3 above – the only smart outcome; and without much resistance really. It took probably no more than 3 mins to get to resolution!

Granddad supported Uncle Zachary’s recourse to leveraging his influence and authority.

Granddad honoured and upheld Leila’s Mummy’s wishes and therefore ensuring her authority is not undermined

There was a possible fourth option – just to tell Leila outright “to do as she is told”. Not a smart way to teach a 5 year old

In the interests of time, here’s an overview of the process. It went something like this:

Gave due regard and acknowledged to Leila’s declared wish not to have her hair washed
Focused on the benefits of having her hair washed… she had been out all day and played a lot at the garden centre and was therefore all sweaty. Leila agrees.

“Nice one”!

It had rained during the crazy golf session and her hair had got all mangy and it would feel really nice if washed clean again. Leila concurs again.


Somehow get across to a smart and much treasured 5 year old, that her Granddad’s authority and that of her Mummy are not contradictory but one and the same. A shared vicarious authority. Even if in Leila’s 5 year old little head “Granddad is Mummy’s Daddy”…and therefore perhaps more influential!

If only!

I’m sure if we were to re-run this scenario 9 years hence, I suspect Leila would be adopting the complete opposite position… something along the lines of… “My mummy lets me decide when to wash my hair” kind of thing!

Anyhoo!, long story short, amid much laughter, singing (the rock ‘n’ roll bath song!) and obvious enjoyment coming from the bathroom upstairs, I took a moment or two to reflect and think into what had just transpired and the lessons learned.

One wouldn’t think there wouldn’t be much to learn from such a mundane, ordinary, daily family chore of bathing a 5 year old before her bedtime.

How fool them

There was a whole bunch of lessons:

The hefty responsibility that is parenting

How we talk to our children

Listening; truly listening to our children

How children learn and model behaviour and actions, therefore the need to take care what we say, how we say it, and how we act

Different levels and types of communication

Negotiating skills, where a 5 year old is involved

Navigating different and parallel levels of authority

Matrix power dynamics within family relationships.

Intra-family communication

Teaching and modelling nurturing behaviour

How children learn and model good or bad behaviour, and unhelpful forms of communicating…
…to name just a few

And now, back to my mother-in-law Tess, as promised.

It was quite fitting that the episode with Leila happened on the very day members of Tess’s family, came together to honour and celebrate her. Although we were celebrating what would have been her 83rd birthday, we were in fact celebrating a great, wise and exemplary parent.

In honouring my mother in law’s memory, we were celebrating “Gathering”, “Relating” “Connecting”…family connections, near and far. That’s what she did best

Tess was a great “Connector”… she connected, people, gathered people… brought people together; her family in particular.

In gathering together that Sunday, we came to celebrate a great Teacher, a Role Model, a teacher who taught, silently, visibly and very powerfully through modelling.

We gathered because she modelled gathering.

We gathered because she modelled the value of connecting.

We gathered because we came to bear witness to great teaching. All gathered were beneficiaries to that great teaching…


In that simple episode before bath time, Leila had shone a mirror on what we had lived into all day: the need to listen, acknowledge, model, teach and connect.

In listening to Leila she was teaching us…me

In connecting with Leila, she opened up the door to a vault of knowledge and learning.

By truly engaging with Leila; she provided my son and I the opportunity “unlearn” and instead to learn how to communicate with a 5 year old at a level beyond just words

Thank you Tess for your powerful legacy

Thank you Leila, for the great teacher that you continue to be to me.

In the words of another great teacher, “…Yes; have you never read, ‘out of the mouth of infants and nursing babe, thou hast prepared praise for thyself’?” (from the Christian bible- Matt. 21:15, 16)”

Food for thought indeed

With my warmest regards



Most of us have a troubling relationship with it...

Aug 16, 01:53 AM

By Joe Z Mairura

We desire it…

We chase it…

We need it…

We all want it…

We work for it…

We long to acquire more of it…

It helps soften the blow…

We both admire and loathe it in others…

We condemn, hate, and in some cases kill for it…

…yes; literally.

In case you haven’t worked it out yet…

…I am talking about money, riches and financial wealth.

We have a very dichotomous relationship with money and wealth- a troubling relationship with it. We hold some weird and deep-seated societal ideas and beliefs about money, riches and wealth. But the thing is we are mostly unconsciously to it; except it comes out in the language we use and how we speak about money, wealth and rich people.

Take a moment or two and re-run in your head, the myriad conversations you have had about money, riches, rich people, your attitude to those with more than you etc…

What did you find out?

I don’t need to know the answer; you do.

All I ask is that you be honest with yourself about what it revealed to you about your beliefs, thoughts, feelings and resulting behaviours and actions about money, riches and financial wealth.

These ideas reside deep within your subconscious and unless you are aware or conscious of them, they will manifest themselves in our daily realities, through our conversations, behaviours as actions.

In the last four years or so I have spent thousands of hours with: professionals, professional business owners, fellow business owners, and with my coach. During this time I learnt a very uncomfortable truth. It hit me like a boomerang on its ‘return flight’; right between the eyes … pretty much ‘floored me’

Do you wanna know what I learnt?

Perhaps best not

Not really


No way

It might knock you for six

If you do, you’re gonna need a ‘Scotch on the Rocks…straight’, or similar, on the ready; cuz this be huuuuge!

Well, here goes…

Don’t say I didn’t warn you

It’s this; the vast majority of people, business owners included, fear success-including financial success-more than they fear failure.

You might want to read the above sentence again.

They do

Perhaps you do but have not given it much thought

I did!

I’m still reeling from the discovery about my thinking into my beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, behaviours and actions about money and how all this is playing out on my personal and business life.

… I’m dead serious

“Get outta here Joe” I hear you say…

You see, that’s exactly it, I bet you dismissed it outright…

Perhaps because it took you by surprise?

Perhaps it left you feeling a bit uncomfortable?

Put you on the spot perhaps?

You see, that right there is the very problem.

We don’t belief and as consequence don’t think we have a troubled relationship with money or financial wealth. Sadly the, majority of us do…

And the funny thing is, we are our unconscious to it all.


Because we have been so programmed, that we are not even aware we‘re doing it; with our immediate response being just an automatic, deep seated defence mechanism often framed in the some sort of rationalisation, justification or some ‘simplistic’ explanation

And do you know where it comes from?

I’ll tell you.

From our ‘knotted’, warped’, confusing and confused and very damaging belief system and subsequent attitudes towards money and financial wealth. And do you know what; most of these beliefs we did not even originate; instead they have been programmed into us over a very long time

Any of the following ring any bells?

Blessed are the poor….

Money does not bring you happiness…

Money is not the be and end of all…

It’s not all about money…

Money is not everything…

Money doesn’t grow on trees

Work hard and you will do well… you will be rich/wealthy…

Money is the root of all evil…

Take this last one for example; we have down the years, conveniently omitted “the love of money bit at the start of this phrase and the consequent central message?

Money is intrinsically evil.

Do you grasp the implication?

Don’t get me wrong; we all desire for and aspire to the kind of financial wealth that allows us a lifestyle of choice and freedom.

But you see the issue is not about we want; it’s more about what we believe.


What do you really believe about money and wealth?

Do you believe you are worthy of it?

How do your beliefs about money and your being worthy of it, manifest themselves in your daily life?

I offer you these questions to aid your thinking into this very real and important aspect of your life. Do not be deceived by their simplicity. I encourage you to really “go within” because without doing so “you will go without”

A lot of people think positively about money and financial wealth, but unconsciously believe negatively and therefore think and act negatively.

Here is an incontrovertible truth; what you think about money and wealth, will determine how much you get. It’s therefore to sort out your beliefs and thinking about money; because how and what you think about money and wealth, will have a huge effect on how much you attract into your life, how much you retain or flows out of your life

Think into the questions well and deeply and they will provide a window to your subconscious and belief system and the thinking and behaviour it sponsors about money and wealth.

I offer them to you in the spirit of service

With my warmest regards


P.S. Remember, the quality of question(s) you’re willing to ask yourself or be asked by others will determine the quality of answers received….and, consequently, the quality of life you lead.


It’s The Finishing That Matters: Five Simple Steps to Achieving Your Goals

Aug 6, 07:02 PM

By Joe Z Mairura

Life presents us with opportunities, choices, and a multitude of decision moments.

Life’s itself an opportunity

In the information age that’s the a 21st century with a 24/7 access to information and news, we have become accustomed to or rather conditioned to expect instantaneous results or solutions to problems.
Not an inconsiderable number of us still, operate, behave and conduct our lives with erroneous expectations for instantaneous clarity to problems or challenges, and immediate or at the very least, solutions to our problems in the shortest time possible

Immediate or instantaneous gratification – a desire for instant if not immediate results is the order of the day.

The dramatic, no longer surprises.

Yet a simple truth eludes us; most of us will probably never experience a heart -pounding dramatic experience(s) or moment(s) in our lifetimes.

What we do do, however, whether in our personal, professional or business lives, is make daily choices; ‘simple’, ordinary and seemingly small daily decisions- often routine, that either stretch and transform the our lives or slowly coast towards the achievement of our goals.

Reaching for our goals can be as simple as completing a project we have put off for a while, or starting that difficult conversation we know too well needs to be had.

‘Unfinished business is not good for us. It can be disastrous, dangerous in fact.

How so?

Because it drains our mental and emotional energy, and can derail your goals or aspirations and has a real impact on how you feel about yourself.

Put another way, procrastination is the killer of dreams, the enemy of progress, improvement and change.
Just as life gives us opportunities, it also presents us with moments that require that one more stretch, the discipline and the persistence to stick with it until you “get there”- whatever the “there” is for you.

Here are some suggestions that might help along the way:

First requires adopting a step by step, a brick by brick attitude (mindset). The words “Rome was never built in a day” spring to mind.

I can be an impatient bugger sometimes and do often catch myself wanting instant results. When I catch myself doing this, I think back to what my very wise Granddad told me all those years ago as a young adult. “Joseph, (That’s what he called me when he was due to tell me something important) getting to your goals is like building a house, one step at a time. The same goes for your success; daily little steps”.
So today, I practice regular little daily disciplines; and these small incremental actions contribute towards my success. I know that I have to keep at it. Do I always succeed? No; but I’ve got better at it, as I have learned to turn it into a daily habit

Which brings me nicely on to the second step. Being clear about the “why”. It’s not a wise strategy to depend on your emotions to keep you committed. Not especially at those times you don’t particularly feel like doing what you know you should.

Motivation on its own is fickle

So it’s advisable to envision your end result/goal… why it’s important to you, how you will feel when you get there. Focusing on the answers- even if it’s just provisional ones-puts you in a better a position to achieve your result… to move closer to clarity. In other words, “amplify the reward”

Thirdly, great intentions on their own won’t get you very far. Instead put some daily structure and system around your goals. Be “intentional” (purposeful).That’s different.

Structure and some form of daily system make it easier to stay disciplined and keep you on the “straight and narrow”. For example, reading daily, regular exercise, making notes of what you have learned or a useful phrase that you have heard in a conversation that helps you reflect and improve.

I find I need to remind myself of this on a daily basis to keep me on track

Fourthly, surround yourself with the right support, the right people. You are most successful when you tap into a network of people who support you, your personal growth and your goals.

I don’t remember exactly who said it, but I think it’s Jim Rohn; he said, ‘you are the average of the five people you associate with most regularly’ (your inner circle in other words).

Over the last few years I have found that I’m most focused, productive and successful, when I am able to tap into a network of like-minded, success and personal growth orientated people; who support me and encourage me in my aspirations whether personal, professional or in my business. I have become better at being intentional on who I chose to include in my inner circle

If for instance you need specific professional or career advice, you talk to someone of integrity in a career. And not your good friend downs the pub.

Equally if you are seeking help or guidance on mapping out what you wish for your life, you want to talk to someone who has figured this out or who is ‘further down the pavement than you are; and not someone who hasn’t or is in the middle of figuring it all out themselves.

Your success or not, depends on the company you keep. Choose wisely.

If you want success in your life-whatever that means to you- then you need to surround yourself with successful people-and so we ‘re clear I’m not referring just to financial success – but people with a sense of vision and purpose, success and growth driven and some clarity or are intentional about their lives aspirations.

Not life’s sleepwalkers

I mean the kind of people who will encourage you, stretch you, but will also hold you to account when necessary to your declared or identified purpose… Not the “go with the flow” “yes” sort or type.

Fifthly, quitting is not an option. It takes time to reach your goals, to attain clarity, to achieve success. What it doesn’t however, mean is that you do nothing until you have “discovered the secret”… until you’re crystal clear of your life’s purpose”. Life just doesn’t roll that way.

You have to start somewhere. Even when it’s all not very clear, start with the small daily choices, decisions and practicalities of living, practicing a profession or running a business; and with the help of what I have shared above, you will move towards your goals, your desired results or clarify your life’s purpose or aspiration.

Talking about a lesson he learned from his father, I find this quotation from John Maxwell- the world renowned teacher on leadership-very helpful: “when you made the choice to start, you made the choice to finish. It isn’t two choices … it’s one”

Like John’s father above, my Grandad taught me from a very early age, that attaining clarity on your life’s purpose is NOT a quick fix. For some it can take a whole lifetime. But this is not an excuse for just ‘coasting along… going with the flow and hoping for the best’. One therefore needs to be careful, otherwise quitting can become a habit

It’s your life, your profession, your business, your choice.

Choose wisely

With my warmest wishes


P.S. Everything I’ve shared above applies to every domain of our lives; business included
Attaining or working towards your goals or your life’s purpose can become a habit; you just need to be intentional about your simple daily choices, decisions, actions and behaviours

Often, the things that separate you from your goals and your life’s purpose are only inches away. You just need to learn to develop an ‘inner eye of understanding’ to the opportunities that life throws at you, by being a better listener and observer… by becoming more aware


It’s like a cancer…

Jul 22, 07:18 PM

By Joe Z Mairura

It’s become commonplace.

It’s banded about too often to the point of becoming meaningless.

Just part of the “lingo”; of the personal growth and improvement industry.

I’m talking about ‘the comfort zone’.

The comfort zone is a mindset that settles for what you are today; and implies that where you are now, is all you are capable of being; and everything you are now is all you are ever going to be, do and have; all you can ever achieve

In other words you have no room for growth

If this is you, be worried…

…In fact, be very worried


You cannot stand still. It’s impossible for you to stand still; because there’s no such thing as inertia in nature. You’re either going in one direction or the other.

Nothing in the universe is constant.

You’re either growing or you’re going backwards. Everything in the universe is in a continuous state of motion. Nothing is stationary.

Everything is in a state motion. Even a ‘deceptively solid’ looking piece timber is in continuous motion; because its molecules are in constant vibration – though not visible to the naked eye

There are no exceptions.

Most of us ‘exist’ within our seemingly comfortable lives. These are nothing more than just established comfort zones in our lives; with most just bouncing along… just getting by…

…In fact how many times have you heard people say to you “we’re ok…we’re comfortable…getting by”

For the vast majority, life amounts to just “comfortably” coasting along…just getting by: monthly bills paid, full bellies, somewhere comfortable to lay their heads, some monthly disposable income etc.

For most, it’s something to aspire to – a seemingly good place to be.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

This is self delusion…

…An illusion

The danger with operating in the comfort zone if not “diagnosed” (identified) and addressed is, like a cancer; silently eating away at you without your even knowing it and only hurts when the damage is already done. It’s too late by then.

Unfortunately, life in the comfort zone is problematic. Once we are “comfortable” we stop stretching and challenging ourselves or being stretched and challenged by others so we can become better versions of ourselves – more aware and conscious individuals and self-employed professional business owners. We stop taking risks – an essential component to living – and a result, we actually stop growing.

Once you stop growing you stifle your potential: personal, professional and that of your business.

It’s your life, your call, your choice

Choose wisely.

One way to ensure you are able to do this effectively is, just hit reply to this message to find out how you can “Rent my Brain”

How does “Rent My Brain” work?

The long and short of it is, you pay me the pittance and get the opportunity to ask me help you solve your most pressing personal, business or professional challenge.

I will mull over it for a little while, then we will get on the “blower” (phone/skype) once I have mulled it over, and talk it through with you for about an hour so I can let you know what I think is the best way out of your muddle.

Step one, problem sorted. You get to know how to go about solving your most pressing problem

Then follows step 2- the most important- “implementation”. Nothing happens without this step.

Once we have talked it over and I’ve shown you the solution to your most pressing problem, it may require you to do some work…

….like putting to work in your business, profession or personal life, what you have learned from Rent My Bran?! Otherwise it would have been an utter waste of your “money and both our time.

Not a very smart strategy

With my warmest wishes


P.S. While you might forgive someone in their comfort zone for not being too willing to change anything, make no mistake, your comfort zone is what’s stopping you from becoming a bigger and better you.
It’s what’s holding you, your professional and your business aspirations back from real growth and accomplishment.

The comfort zone is the cancer of your personal, professional, business and entrepreneurial success.

You know what to do!


You will not make it for the Olympics!

Jul 18, 05:46 PM

By Joe Z Mairura

“Chance favours the prepared mind”

Wise words by Louis Pastor.

Words I wouldn’t associate with the ‘creature’ I encountered yesterday morning on my morning run

I was on my inbound lap, about 10 minutes from the finish line, when I saw him

There he was; about 50 yards in front of me: standing about six feet tall, “potbellied”- evidence of too much beer guzzling no doubt- the Daily Mirror newspaper in his left hand, cigarette in his right, unkempt hair, and glasses balanced on his nose.

I’d say he was in his very late forties, fifty years old; tops. The beer gut was even more pronounced as he wore a very tight fitting yellow t-shirt

An altogether inspiring picture of health; NOT

…at 07.15 on a beautiful, sunny early summer morning.

He was obviously on his way back from the local corner shop to pick up the daily tabloid paper.

As I came up to about within 10 yards away of him, he piped out:

“You won’t be making the Olympics then”

“A Good morning to you too; and which games will you be participating in”, I retorted back sarcastically.

“Bustard”; I thought to myself; what a nasty piece of work”

I obviously reminded him of something he wasn’t…

…Healthier, perhaps?

Or was it perhaps something he just wouldn’t entertain…taking responsibility for a bit of self-care and self-respect?


It still gave him no right to deride

At sixty, I’m in pretty good shape. I don’t cut too bad a figure either! I look and feel healthier than most 60-year olds I know of. I’m sure there must be a few other 60-year olds out there who cut a fine figure too and may well be “fitter” than me

But hey, I’m in good company!

But not the ‘late 40- something’ ghastly representation of the human species, I had just encountered at my 16km point on my inbound part of my morning run. He certainly isn’t one of them.

Judging by the size of his ‘beer gut’, the only games he’d probably qualify to participate in, would be the local ‘marathon beer drinking challenge’ if there were one such event.

Anyway as the nasty dross of humanity I had just encountered receded away behind me, I thought for a second or two: “what makes people like this ignominious ignoramus so bitter and jealous?

Having just beheld his figure, I probably know the answer to that already. None-the-less, the thought just crossed my mind.

Nuff said

As I approached the last half kilometre mark of my run, I was reminded of a great piece of wisdom by Lao Tzu, author of what’s thought to be the oldest book on earth, the ‘Tao Te Ching’.

In it, the author observes: “Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny”

Mmm. I reflected for a bit and wondered; Joe, how do you show up in the face of the above revealed wisdom? Are you aware of what your habitual ways of thinking are – and how are they currently serving you?

Yes I am; and I’m continually working on them and improving.

Am I the finished article? Not by a long shot; but I’m continually improving and growing.

Are you?

So I pose you the same question as I did to myself:

Are you aware; and have you ever considered what your habitual ways of thinking are; and how they are currently serving you?

Even more importantly…

….how will they continue to serve you in the future?

You may remember I shared with you in a previous message, that change is a universal constant. You can never stand still. You are either growing or going backwards. It’s the way of the Universal Laws…

…Nothing is in state of inertia

I do not believe that you do not wish to grow- you do not want to do, have and be more – achieve more than you currently are.

The ‘more’ for you might be more health and fitness, more leisure, more freedom, a more loving relationship, more customers, more money, more profits, more time with your loved ones or more doing what you love doing

Whatever your ‘more’ is for you, here is a pressing question that requires your answer:

What specifically are you doing TODAY to bring ‘more’ into your life, profession or and self-employed business?

How intentional are you in preparing for your personal success for the remainder of 2017?

How intentional are you about achieving your personal ambitions in the same period?

What are you prepared to do differently- something that will challenge and stretch you; something that will feel uncomfortable doing, in order to achieve them?

These are important questions. You will be well served to reflect on them; because the process leading to the answers to them, will serve you well in whatever aspect of your life.

Happy reflection; and may the answers to the above questions open up new and valuable areas of enquiry and lead you to higher levels of awareness and growth.

With my warmest regards


P.S If this strikes a chord, just hit Reply to this message to find out how you can “Rent my Brain”
How does “Rent My Brain” work?

The long and short of it is, you pay me the pittance and get the opportunity to ask me help you solve your most pressing personal, business or professional challenge.

I will mull over it for a little while, then we will get on the “blower” (phone/skype) once I have mulled it over, and talk it through with you for about an hour so I can let you know what I think is the best way out of your muddle.

Step one, problem sorted. You get to know how to go about solving your most pressing problem
Then follows step 2- the most important- “implementation”. Nothing happens without this step.

Once we have talked it over and I’ve shown you the solution to your most pressing problem, it may require you to do some work…

….like putting to work in your business, profession or personal life, what you have learned from Rent My Bran?!

Otherwise it would have been an utter waste of your “money and both our time.

Not a very smart strategy


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