Peter Thomson, renowned business author: “Well, thank you for deciding on such a lovely place for a chat.”
We are meeting on one of the loveliest beaches in the Canary Islands. The sea is gently lapping at the miles of golden sand. We are sitting under a canopy of taffeta and vines, with bright purple flowers cascading down the poles holding up this roof. We are at my favourite bar, which serves the best coffee on the Island, with the most amazing custard tarts, which the owner assures me are completely calorie-free. We have a coffee each and a plate of those tarts sits between us, looking hugely tempting.
We are grateful for the shade as even though it’s only ten o’clock in the morning, the sun is high in the sky, warming the sand, which will soon be too hot to walk on bare-footed.
Allan: Where would you like to start?
Peter: As you know, I’m interviewing a few people who have changed their lives dramatically over the past couple of years for my new book. How about going back to where that started…
Allan: A pleasure. It was in the third quarter of 2022 when I enrolled on the MasterKey Experience. I can’t honestly remember how I got to hear about this opportunity, but I applied for a scholarship, was lucky enough to get one and so signed up. We got going at 9pm on a Sunday evening.
One of the first exercises we did that really impacted me was to tease out our Principle Personal Needs (PPNs). This was a real surprise to me. As Mark introduced the exercise, he said to write down the seven options but not decide which were our priorities. Of course, I did and choose my two. We then did a short exercise, which ended with circling our two top PPNs.
You can probably predict the outcome. Yep, the two I circled were not the ones I had consciously chosen before the exercise. Looking back, I now realise that my first choice was just what I thought I “should” choose. My second choice just felt right, more authentic somehow. I chose True Health and Liberty as my priority PPNs. Still have them as my focus.
Peter: Interesting start, what happened next?
Allan: Our next exercise was to incorporate these PPNs into our dharma or Definite Major Purpose (DMP). Now, I thought I was good at this sort of thing. I’ve helped so many clients decide on their goals and objectives, but this was very different. I had a great chap, Luc, as my guide and he gave me great feedback to fine-tune how I wrote my DMP. I remember that I had written “be able to wear” and Luc suggested altering that to “wear”. Seems so obvious looking back but it didn’t at the time and crikey, getting the words spot on really made the difference.
Anyhow, taking True Health as my first PPN, I worked on a specific target, running it past the criteria set out by Mark and the crew and decided that a major part of what I wanted was to get rid of fifty-one pounds and maintain my weight of 12 stones plus or minus three pounds. I achieved my target weight early December that same year and I’ve maintained it ever since.
Now, a couple of key points about this aspect. I had lost weight many times before. In those days, my wardrobe contained jeans ranging from 30” waist to 38” waist. All neatly arranged in size order. Same with my shirts etc. Getting rid of my excess weight with MKE was different. Three major differences:
• I thought about my task as “getting rid of” rather than “losing”. This was a completely different message to my subconscious. As Davene (one of the programme leaders) pointed out during one session, who likes losing anything?
• Previously, I had really enjoyed the feedback from various people (predominately my sister-in-law, Sam and my nieces, Amy, and Katie) when I had lost weight. So, to attract more feedback, my subconscious worked on putting weight back on so I could lose it again and hey presto” more great feedback. Now, logically no-one would set out to do this but “subby” as I’ve come to think of him, does not apply logic. He just wants to repeat things that have proved useful in the past, bless him. Realising this, I focused on the maintaining aspect. That made a huge difference – as you can see 😊.
• Another major difference was the amount of effort involved, or rather not involved. I reduced my weight pretty effortlessly. It was as though my default had become to eat healthily and stay at 12 stones. So now I rarely think about my weight. And that’s probably why the plate of custard tarts is still intact!
• As my subconscious was now working on getting rid of my excess weight, I noticed things that I just hadn’t noticed before. I remember so well, noticing an advert for meal replacements and signed up to kick-start my reduction programme. That allowed me to get rid of the first couple of stones and got me well on my way.
Now, my guess was that those adverts were there all along, I just hadn’t noticed them. It’s like when I bought my new car. Suddenly the roads were full of them! Clearly, they weren’t, I was just sensitised to seeing them. There is a part of the brain that does this. An activation system or something but I don’t recall the term.
Peter: It strikes me you have the perfect system for an effective weight reduction programme. You could put Weightwatchers out of business! What other changes do you attribute to going through the MKE programme?
Allan: It would be quicker to go over any aspects that haven’t changed to be honest. Lets’ talk about my home. When I started the programme, I was living in a one-bedroom flat in a village just outside of Oxford. There were aspects of that flat that I loved; the location (a decent bike ride into town), a garden and having a private drive so I didn’t need to park on the road.
As part of my DMP, I envisaged my new home. A spacious place with exposed industrial type beams and brickwork, ideally a re-developed brewery. I pictured the designer kitchen in my mind, along with a beautifully maintained garden that I sat in almost every day. I particularly enjoyed the gazebo, not unlike where we are now.
I loved my friends coming to stay for the weekend and enjoying their company. I imagined knowing my neighbours and having coffee with them. I imagined my two parking spaces below the apartment, easy to get in and out of. I pictured secure storage for my bike and loved the view from my upstairs position.
So, I imagined all that and come Easter 2023, one of my sons, Cameron, called me and said that he thought he had the ideal place for me. I had described what I wanted to him and as he spent most evenings looking at property sites, it was no surprise that he came across the ideal property. It was a couple of miles from the city centre, had all the elements I had imagined and was next to water so had an outstanding view that changed with the seasons.
Buying the place turned out to be very straightforward and I moved in, with help from my boys and their partners on Easter weekend. One of the highlights of the move was the celebration meal that Rhiannon and Lucy cooked in my new kitchen. I loved the place the first time I saw it and still love it. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I regularly get together with my neighbours for a coffee and we all go out for meals every couple of weeks.
Peter: That sounds amazing. It does sound like you decided what you wanted to achieve with your health and your home. What other changes have you made?
Allan: So, we come to, as far as I’m concerned, the most amazing result of taking part in the programme to date. And that’s concerning my work, my coaching business. At the time I joined the programme, I had one client and was just about breaking even. I was just about recovered from Covid and had taken a few months off.
Just like the other aspects, on my DMP I described that I planned to earn £10K or more each and every month in return for guiding people to get the life of their dreams. For some reason, I was very confident that I would achieve that by January 2023 or earlier.
Well, it turned out that it was a lot earlier! Just like with my healthy eating, I started noticing opportunities to network with people who either were or had relationships with my ideal clients. I attended a few webinars by people promising to help me earn six, seven, eight figures per year and picked up the elements that made sense to me.
One sentence that jumped out when I read “The Greatest Salesman” was that “experience is like fashion, an action that proved successful today will be unworkable and impractical tomorrow”. That summed up what I thought about most of the self-help gurus. I’m sure their advice worked for them, in their circumstances, at that time. No guarantee that following that advice would work for anyone else. In fact, I always thought quite the reverse, pretty much guaranteed not to work… I digress.
Back to my business. I designed and got my friend Ed to help me produce an introductory webinar which described how I set out to help individuals sort themselves out. I told a couple of stories of successful coaching interventions, described a couple of principles that I knew to be true along with the ramifications of those principle and outlined how we could work together. My initial marketing strategy was to ask previous clients to send people to that recording.
I started working with a great marketing and sales expert called Steve Mills and we built a great system for generating new leads. I attended local network groups and really enjoyed that. It all worked a treat. I invoiced £5K in November 2022, £7½K in December 2022 and hit £10K in January 2023. That so appealed to the “neat” part of me.
I have always earned more that £10K per month since. The weird thing is that I had known Steve for a few years and had attended some of his free webinars but never decided to work with him. Now it seemed like the obvious thing to do.
One aspect that surprised me was that I started doing presentations. I was invited to present my ideas to a number of groups within companies and also to public programmes. I enjoyed that very much and still present regularly.
And the last aspect of my work life that surprised me was that, even with all the coaching I was doing, during 2023, I wrote my long thought about book. I wanted to call it “Confessions of a Coach” or “Coaching lost – coaching regained” but luckily my publisher had a much more compelling idea.
To sum up, my business world was completely transformed by taking part in the MKE programme. This was such a turning point for me. Who knew that showing up for a couple of hours every Sunday evening, completing the exercises faithfully and contributing to the Mastermind would have such dramatic effects?
Peter: Wow, that’s does sound amazing. I hesitate to ask but anything else impacted by following the MKE programme?
Allan: Although I was a confirmed divorcee when I joined MKE, during the programme I realised that I wanted a life partner. I wanted someone who shared my desire to help people transform their lives. As you have probably guessed, I now have my ideal partner.
We were married a year or so ago and work together, coaching, and guiding people, partly with the material we learned on the MKE programme. We also work with other people from MKE, which is really lovely.
One great part of this was last year, when we went on holiday with all the children and their partners. I say children but they are all in their twenties. We rented a villa close to the each and I was amazed by a couple of things; how well everybody got on and just how much food young men can put away.
I probably should have mentioned that first-just in case she reads this interview. I assume you can alter the order of my answers.
Peter: Of course. No problem. Anything else?
Allan: On my DMP, I wrote that I wanted to visit the Seven Wonders of the World. At the time, I wasn’t sure where this came from, but I was very clear that was a goal for me. Well, we have visited Machu Picchu and the Taj Mahal to date and have a trip planned to see the Pyramids.
Peter: It does sound as though life has changed for you.
Allan: That may be the understatement of the Century!
It’s fairly straightforward to describe the tangible aspects that have changed, the partner, home, health and so on, but that’s a small part of what I’ve experienced really.
The most amazing result for me is how I feel, how I approach each day. I have a sort of confidence that everything works out for the best, for everyone, all the time. I know that sounds a bit “airy fairy” but it’s true. I enjoy everything so much more now. Life has become a breeze.
One great example is trusting my intuition. Taking part in the programme made me appreciate the power of my unconscious and how I can trust it all the time. A cool example happened while I was out for dinner with my sons, Elliott, and Cameron.
We were walking back from the restaurant and passed an ATM when I had the intuition to withdraw £50. My immediate thought was that I had no use for the cash. I was going on a business trip the following day and had a bunch of euro to use.
What I want to emphasise is that previously, I would have thought away my intuition and ignored withdrawing the cash from a logical point of view. I have learned to pay great attention to the “insights” that subby gives me, so I withdrew the cash with a smile and wondered why I needed it.
So, I said goodbye to the boys and made my way to the multi-storey car park I had used.
As I walked through the entrance, I saw a notice saying “Levels 3 to 5 will be closed and locked at 6pm each evening with no access until 7am the following morning. People requiring access during these times should park on levels 1 and 2. A release fee of £50, payable in cash, applies during these periods. Call xxxxx to arrange release”
That still makes me chuckle.
Peter: So, apart from a new partner, being a lot fitter and healthier, your business booming, traveling the World, approaching each day by bouncing out of bed and valuing your intuition; nothing has really changed?
Allan: You could put it like that, yes 😊
There is one key aspect I want to say about the experience. As I went through the programme, it dawned on me that “the whole was greater than the sum of the parts”. At the start of the programme, I kept wondering how doing the various exercises added up to the changes I was feeling. It didn’t take me long to let that go and trust the process. I’ve heard that so many times over the years but this time it was spot on.
Peter: This interview is beginning to sound like a sales pitch for MKE.
Allan: Fair comment. To be honest, I would love everybody to go through the programme.
Going through the experience made me realise that I was just “going through the motions” of life. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy and enjoying life, but it was a totally different experience after MKE.
Previously I didn’t really consider what I wanted so didn’t go for it. There was a quote during the programme to the effect that if you don’t have a dream, you’ll just end up drifting and helping someone else achieve theirs. Seems to make sense to me.
That’s it, really.
Peter: Thank you so much for your time. It’s been a pleasure to hear how you’ve changed your life over the past couple of years. I’m now seriously thinking about signing up.
Allan: It’ll be the best thing you do-honestly.
On a slightly different theme, the custard tarts seem to have de-materialised during our chat.
Peter: Oops – that may have been me
We said our goodbyes and he walked across the beach to his car and drove off.
I reflected on how so much had changed for me over the past couple of years and how grateful I was that I had stumbled across the MKE programme.
Time for another coffee…