Richard Medcalf

Author Archives: Richard Medcalf


3 signs you’ve set terrible goals

This post is part of a series on personal effectiveness and impact. You might like to review the previous articles:

“Goal” isn’t a dirty word (is it)?

Security isn’t a dirty word, Blackadder. Now, Crevice is a dirty word. But not Security…

~ General Melchett, Black Adder Goes Forth!

You may remember I talk about 3 main areas of personal effectiveness: Purpose, Plans and Productivity. Of course, the foundation of everything is purpose… because unless we know what are trying to accomplish, we’ll have a hard time accomplishing it!

This moves us on to idea of goal-setting. Now people have mixed feelings here. On one hand, goal-setting is undisputedly used by high-peforming individuals and teams in to get results in sport, business and other areas of life.

However for many of us, goal-setting has almost become a dirty word. We’ve probably set and failed at goals too many times before, and understandably don’t want to Continue reading


How to have a bigger impact: surprising tips from 60 top experts

Effectiveness is more than productivity.  Whereas productivity is 'doing things right', effectiveness also includes 'doing the right things' and can be seen as a chain that links your daily activities to your deepest needs, desires and hopes for the future.

So if you want to live a purposeful, accomplished life, tuning up your personal effectiveness is one of the wisest investments you can make.

So for this important topic, I reached out to 60 very accomplished experts in a number of fields, including CEOs, leadership experts, productivity gurus and ministry leaders.  I asked them the following question:

What is the most surprising tip you’d give somebody looking to grow their personal impact & effectiveness?

I hope you'll agree that the result is one of the best collections personal effectiveness tips.  This is real practical wisdom for achieving great things in your work and life.

Download now, digest later...

RECOMMENDATION: This is a long post, so I suggest you grab the free PDF version which also includes a one-page summary that you can refer to regularly keep you on track!

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8 essential steps to make big things happen

If you want to make a big impact you need a personal effectiveness system that is way better than the average.

Have you noticed how some people achieve so much more than others, despite starting in very similar places?

I'm thinking of Claire and Caroline (editor: names changed!), two people who tried to start similar projects here in Paris.  Caroline's project grew rapidly, whereas Claire's never really got off the ground.  Caroline was able to step back and delegate after a while, whereas Claire is still trying to do all the heavy lifting herself.

I'm thinking of Steven and Carl (again, names changed), two consultants in my firm who joined at the same time with very similar education and experience, and yet who had very different career paths.  One plateau'd early on, the other rose rapidly through the ranks.

The difference?  I noticed it was in the different ways these people went about organising their work, the different goals they set, and the different ways they structured their time.

So... if you want to make an impact and get big things accomplished, you need to keep growing in the art of personal effectiveness. It's an essential journey for all of us.

And as it's the goal of Purposeful People to help you live a life of impact and purpose, I'm very excited about this special series on personal effectiveness.

Too much talk about productivity focuses on tools and tactics, with the result is we try different approaches but nothing seems to stick. So in this series I am going to take a different approach and start with proven principles that, once internalised, can allow you to build a personal effectiveness system that is truly optimised for you.

Introducing the Effectiveness Engine

In my 20 years of consulting work, I have identified a chain that effectively links our deepest values and aspirations to our day-by-day and minute-by-minute work. I call it the Effectiveness Engine and it is present, explicitly or implicitly, in all high performers.

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Rick Coplin: real-life transitions from success to significance

It was my great privilege to speak with Rick Coplin recently.

Rick has helped to build and sell a start-up company, directed technology programs in a major US financial institution and consulted with companies throughout the United States in the areas of technology, finance, marketing and operations. Rick invested 8 years in the Startup investment industry with Rev1 Ventures, coaching entrepreneurs and helping to raise funds to fuel company growth.

Rick left that position earlier this year and now hosts The Success to Significance Podcast. He is finishing a book called Pitch With Purpose: What to Do Before During and After You Pitch to Maximize Your Opportunities. Rick is married with three kids and lives near Columbus, Ohio in the United States.

In this discussion Rick shares some inspiring stories from the people he's interviewed for the podcast. These are people who have made the change from successful careers to meaning and impact. He also shares some encouraging advice on how to get started yourself.

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There’s an effectiveness hater inside you. Which one?

I’m very excited to begin a new series of articles that will help you transform your personal effectiveness and rethink your approach to productivity.

However, there is a problem. Unless we deal with the hidden “effectiveness hater” inside us, we’ll never get our feet off the brakes and growth will be impossible.

In this article, I reveal the 4 major “effectiveness haters” and ask you a simple question: Which of these internal voices speak loudest to you, and are you ready to ignore those voices in pursuit of greater impact? Continue reading

Why meaning matters – and how to move forward: an interview with Dan Cumberland

I was thrilled to be able to speak to Dan Cumberland last week. 

Dan has made it his life’s work to connect people with a sense of purpose and meaning in the life they lead. He is the founder of the Meaning Movement web site and the Fearless February initiative, and creator of the Calling Course. He is a coach and author whose work about meaning and purpose has been featured in Fast Company and Entrepreneur Magazine. He’s also an entrepreneur and runs his own photography firm.

In this interview Dan shares valuable insights for moving forward on your journey of meaning. Check out the full video below - or, if you are short on time, jump straight to the 5 highlights I describe in this post.

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Like it or not, you are a leader!

This is a guest post by Daniel R. Murphy, who publishes, writes, and blogs on personal improvement at

Everybody leads – but good leadership is an outcome

“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower.

We are all called upon to lead at certain times. We lead in our families, we lead civic organizations, and we lead at work.  It’s not just something reserved for those at the top of organisations. No matter what office or station we hold, there are times when we must lead.

In fact, often those at the top of an organization are unable to effectively lead – because real leadership does not come from an office or title, it comes from within us. It comes from what we do and say.

Though there are many attributes that enable people to lead others effectively none are more important than integrity, competence and trust.  There is a fundamental integrity-based formula for leadership that is essential if one is going to effectively lead others. That formula is: Continue reading

How to become a high performer in anything

You might or might not want to hear this, but you definitely need to become a high performer. Here’s why, and here’s how.

Why you must become a high performer

High performer. The words can attract or repel us.

Some of us are drawn to the idea. We’re inspired and attracted to the challenge of excellence.

Others of us find the idea off-putting: daunting, unobtainable, exhausting. We have no desire to be a high-performer – and frankly suspect we’d fail if we tried.

As an example, a very good friend pushed back on me about the whole idea of ‘purposeful living‘ a while back. She said “I don’t want to become a purposeful person … I am already living the life I feel called to”. Now she’s a wonderful person; she has a great sense of calling; I admire her greatly. She’s right about appreciating the present. But there is a danger of complacency: because living purposefully is about growing in the areas that matter most.

But here’s why you absolutely need to become a high-performer.

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Epic Leadership & Purpose Giveaway ($1800+ value) – all the details

If you want to fulfil your potential and make an impact on the world, then you've come to the right place!

Here at Purposeful People it's our goal to provide you with the tools, resources and encouragement you need to find your calling and your best contribution, and live a life of purpose and success.

So we have worked with 10 amazing leaders to bring you an EPIC "leadership and purpose giveaway"! The prize bundle will help you live a successful, productive and purposeful life, and grow your influence and leadership.

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Finding your passion: 5 questions if you don’t feel passionate about anything

What if you are out of goals and passions? What if you don’t have a cause that stirs your heart?

This is a question a couple of people have raised recently, and it’s an important one because it can get us into a funk. As one friend said, “I feel in a ‘no-man’s land’ with no purpose. It’s not a good place to be”.

My goal with Purposeful People is to set your soul on fire with clarity around the cause and the contribution that you are called to, and help you live to the fullest. But without a sense of passion, of conviction, the whole process can break down.

So here are 5 questions to ask yourself for finding your passion in life when you don’t feel strongly about anything. Continue reading

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