The challenge of creating something personal: Noel Langley on his #1 Jazz album

Noel Langley

You may not have heard the name of top trumpet player Noel Langley before but you can bet you've heard him play.

That's because he's played with everyone from Lou Reed, Massive Attack, and Radiohead to Tom Jones, Robbie Williams, and Adele.

And yet despite his glittering career he had never released an album of his own - until now.

Beset by procrastination and the all-too-typical fears everyone has of putting something more personal out into the world, he came for some coaching with me and took the 30 Day Challenge.

It was in those 30 days that the album that became Edentide started to take shape.

And on its release last week, Edentide went straight to the top as
#1 Jazz album on the whole of iTunes.

To celebrate this fantastic achievement, I grabbed Noel in a rare moment of free time and asked him what got in the way of making the album, how he cracked it, and the trick he learned from me that made it possible to get his album made despite a very busy schedule.

Listen to the interview right here:

Listen to a free taster of Edentide

You can listen to Edentide on Noel's website at You can also find download links for Amazon and iTunes or order a signed copy from Noel himself.

Listen to Edentide and buy a copy on

Listen as I reveal my career highs & lows and how to make your dream career happen

Now the Screw Work Let's Play 30 Day Challenge is over I am enjoying getting back to finishing off my 2nd book.

Towards the end of the Challenge I did manage to take an hour out to be interviewed by a great guy called David Ralph on his "Join Up Dots" podcast.

In the podcast I give the inside story of my own career (the lows as well as the highs), how I escaped my high-flying job, started a consultancy career at over £1000/day and finally moved into creating my own 6-figure business doing what I love.

Along the way I talk about why the safe job is no longer safe, I tell the story of my exciting foray into standup comedy (including my #1 tip for public speaking or performance when you're nervous) and I give my advice on how to find your passion.

David is a great interviewer and makes it a really easy, fun, and enjoyable listen (you'll love his interesting factoid on frogs!)

Get inspired about your own career journey by listening to the podcast here - just click the image:

Listen to the Join Up Dots podcast

Introducing your Global Headquarters

30DC6 map

We're already one week into the 30 Day Challenge with our 300 participants and we have a very international crowd this time around - as you can see from the member map above. Everyone has now pretty much settled on an idea and is busy beavering away to make it happen by 30th June.

Global HQ

Yesterday I set an exercise for the participants to create their "Global Headquarters".

And I pointed out the fact that these days your Global HQ can often be anywhere you choose - your kitchen table, the local cafe, or on a beach in Thailand.

I've been enjoying seeing everyone post up images of their Global HQ's from around the world like Joyce from Newcastle's in the photo here, or Candi's campervan in New Zealand where she is travelling around interviewing natural health practitioners.

You can do this too. Choose a place and start thinking of it as your Global HQ.

Clear a little space, whether that's physical space or some space on your hard drive. Gather together the things you need, even if it's just a blank notebook and some headphones to listen to music on.

Because when you make space for it you treat your project, whatever it might be, like something you really care about; something that matters.



Not a Completer Finisher?

For much of my early life I felt bad because I wasn't a 'Completer Finisher'.

Perhaps you might relate to this?

I was good at daydreaming and coming up with ideas, not so good at choosing what to do or getting real and putting things into action.

And then I realised something.

It doesn't matter that I'm not a natural Completer Finisher.

It fact it's an important part of my personality that I am not one. I have different talents and that's just fine.

I don't need to be good at planning, or thinking things through in advance, or remembering every detail that needs to be done. I can get people to help me with that stuff.

What I did instead was develop a method of following through on short projects – in a fun way – so I could get the things I wanted in my life.

I put the process I discovered into the Screw Work Let's Play 30 Day Challenge so that others could learn it too.

And the results people get from it surprise even me!

Nicola Cameron took the 30 Day Challenge and created a dog training course in 30 days at

Nicola says:

"Throughout my life I've been great at starting things but hopeless at finishing them.

Now in my early thirties, I thought I was stuck in that pattern and that changing my work was just another of my 'ideas'.

Having completed the 30 day challenge and now having a finished and available product to my name, I now know that I can do it.

I'm also quite shy so the 30 DC gave me the push (and support) I needed to put myself and my product out there. Thank you."

I asked Nicola what she'd say to you if you were considering joining the 30 Day Challenge:

"Please do it. You will not regret it.

I received this advice last year and I am so, so glad that I took it and signed up. It has changed how I feel about myself in such a positive way"

Start your own adventure – the remaining tickets for the 30 Day Challenge will go on sale this Thursday 8th May at noon for just 36 hours.

Enter your email below to be first to be notified.

PS. If you are a Completer Finisher, that's great! You might then, of course, have challenges with generating ideas or getting started :)
And that's something you'll also learn a lot about in the Challenge.

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The single most important skill you need today

China economyWe live in remarkable times. Last week the Financial Times reported that China is set to overtake America this year as the world's largest economy.

What will the world be like when the West no longer sets the economic agenda?

In addition to this economic shift we're also seeing a workplace shift away from full-time jobs and towards part-time working, freelancing, entrepreneurship and the 'individual economy'.

Altogether we're witnessing one of the biggest changes in the world of work and commerce since the Industrial Revolution.

While it can be an uneasy experience living through so much change, it's also an incredibly exciting time. We are now in a position to mould our work to suit us - to choose what we do and the form we do it in.

But to do that you need one essential skill that you were never taught at school and your parents may not have themselves.

The skill you need now

The single most important skill you need right now is the ability to find ideas and make them happen. Ideas that use the talents that come naturally to you, that you love doing, and that you actually care about.

Once you've learned that your range of possibilities explodes!

So many things are possible today that weren't before. You can publish your own book in an afternoon, sell your home made art online, sell a service you can deliver over Skype from anywhere in the world, or set up a shop on Amazon to sell products to a global market of shoppers.

When you know how to generate ideas, choose the best and make them happen then the world is your playground.

And that's what you'll learn on the Screw Work Let's Play 30 Day Challenge.

The Challenge is all about experiential learning. Not dry study, but actually doing something. The Challenge is an online party with 200 people finding and making an idea happen in just 30 days. The experience for many participants is life-changing.

Booking for the 30 Day Challenge reopens on Thursday at midday (BST). When we last opened the doors, over a 100 tickets were snapped up in just 36 hours.

If you want to be first to hear when tickets go on sale, enter your name and email below.

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Tickets for the 30 Day Challenge go on sale this week...

Marrakech RiadI'm sitting writing this in a Marrakech Riad at the end of a few days away before the craziness of The Screw Work Let's Play 30 Day Challenge descends upon us.

The Challenge runs on 1 June with me, Business Coach Judith Morgan, and a team of 200 people around the world.

If you'd like to find a money-making idea you love and launch it in 30 days, you won't want to miss this!

So... today I can announce that doors open for booking tickets on The Screw Work Let's Play 30 Day Challenge this Thursday.

Tickets are on sale for just 36 hours and we will be rewarding those who act quickly with some very special bonuses so you might want to put the date in your diary now:

Doors Open For Booking:
12 Noon BST, Thursday 1 May 2014

I'll send an email with more details closer to the time...

A Screw Work Let's Play Newsflash

We have two big and exciting announcements to share with you at Screw Work Let's Play HQ today.

Listen to the audio below to find out what's happening:

Watch out for further news on this in just a few days' time...


Is this your block to starting making money without a job?

I've been teaching people how to make money doing something they love without needing a job for almost a decade now. And I know that anyone who's determined to do it can make it happen.

And yet often I see people get stuck along the way. Perhaps you are too? What I've discovered is that the problem is usually not some practical obstacle that's tough to get around but much more likely a misunderstanding of how the process really works.

Here are the 3 biggest blocks I see people come up against. Which one is yours?

1: Can't find an idea

I know we've been told that the idea is everything in starting a business or making money but in actual fact you don't need a wildly original idea and besides, the best ideas come out of experimentation. Find a good enough idea to start with, and you'll come up with loads of others along the way.

You can watch my video on the topic to understand more.

2: Can't commit to an idea

Even when you have an idea you like, a lot of people are beset by doubts about whether it will work so they end up not doing anything. What you need to know is how to create the minimum version of your idea and try it out with people - then you can see whether people get interested in it and perhaps even pay for it. If they do, you know you're on the right track. If not, you can fix, improve or change your idea until it does.

3: Can't get started

Once you have an idea you can begin in a reduced form, you might still be struggling to see how to get it started, particularly if you are short of time and/or funds.

But instead of putting it on the back burner, create a 30 Day Play Project that will allow you to produce something, no matter how small, that you can share with others. You might write and publish a handful of blog posts on the topic you're interested in. Or go do your first small project for a friend or colleague. Or promote your first event on This allows you to find out if you enjoy doing the thing, and it moves you forward even when you're short of time.

The results from such a simple approach can be dramatic - clarity on the things you enjoy doing, tangible results you can point at, greater self-confidence, and often the kind of serendipitous opportunities that only arise when you start putting yourself out into the world.

You might even end up making some money sooner than you expected as have some of the participants on the Screw Work Let's Play 30 Day Challenge (where I teach this process)


Join the discussion

What's getting in your way? I'd love to know. Leave a comment below...

Ditch the boring people!

I had some pretty cool jobs in my former career – special effects developer, European internet consultant, and others. And then I joined a well known global corporation but while the job sounded very impressive I wasn't happy.

Part of the problem was the people. Nothing wrong with them, many of them were very smart. They just weren't my kind of people. They were just too straight for me. I'd been used to funky informal little startups full of creative people and suddenly I was surrounded by people in suits working diligently trying to get onto the partner track.

I quit after just a year and went to work for myself.

Fast forward to today...

I had a realisation this week: that I really love the kind of people I have in my life today. Without any deliberate planning I have ended up surrounded by people who are all creative and entrepreneurial. All of them make a living without a job.

And my friends and colleagues are people who make their own rules for life - they're 'players' in my sense of the word. They don't worry about following social or work norms just for the sake of it. They're into travel and art and interesting events. They all do work they care about and they have fascinating passion projects outside of their work. And as a result I'm always learning something new from them. I feel very lucky.

So if you're currently in a job or work situation where the people just aren't your kind of people, take action to get into into the peer group or social circle you'd really enjoy.

Ditch the boring people and go find your people! Get inspired, get excited and get support. Your life will be radically better for it.

That's one of the things that surprises people most about doing my programmes like The Screw Work Let's Play 30 Day Challenge - you're finally surrounded by your kind of people. It's like coming home.

So what can you do today to find your people?


Join the conversation – leave a comment below

How to be a scanner and still be a success

The Scanner BrainRecently I received an email from someone who had just read my book and had been hit by the realisation that they are a 'scanner'.

This is a transformational moment for a lot of scanners - to finally have a label for themselves. If you are a scanner you might remember the moment yourself.

If you're not sure if you're scanner (or don't know what it is) read on...

Are you a scanner?

If you're not familiar with the scanner personality type, first identified and named by Barbara Sher, here's how to spot if you are one:

  • You have creative ideas all the time, whether it’s for a book, a TV show, an art project, a website, a business, starting a movement, creating a brand, or writing a bestseller
  • You love to learn about new subjects and ideas and then quickly move on to something else
  • You have loads of seemingly unrelated interests
  • Trying to choose between all your ideas, interests and projects stresses you out
  • The thought of concentrating on one single topic for the rest of your life horrifies you
  • You start lots of projects but don’t always finish them before you get into something else

If you can say yes to two or more of these qualities, then you are a scanner!

The good news is that scanners are some of the most creative people in the world. Our focus on breadth rather than depth allows us to make connections between disparate worlds that others can't see. We're open minded, we're fast to learn, and we're keen to share.

The bad news is that the world doesn't always approve of scanners. We get labelled a Jack of all trades (and master of none), a dilettante, or worse. The modern world approves of the deep diver - someone who specialises in one subject – forgetting that some of the most remarkable people who ever lived were renaissance men or women.

Bad scanner or good scanner?

Realising that you're a scanner and that's OK is an important moment. You can finally stop trying to change into something else and embrace your scanner nature. And as a result I get regular emails from scanners who discovered this important part of their makeup while reading my book and are bubbling over with excitement about it.

And to be absolutely honest, I sometimes feel a little nervous about it.

You see, I love scanners - they're interesting and interested, open-minded, and friendly. I am a scanner myself. And not many people know that my book was at an early stage going to be a book about scanners - before it became something much broader.

However a lot of people misunderstand what being a scanner means. Embracing your scanner nature, your love of ideas and your variety of interests in great but it is NOT an excuse to dabble at a million different things, have endless fascinating ideas and put NONE of them into action.

I'm going to be really blunt here: That's not being a scanner, that's being a loser.

And I know because I spent many years of my life reading books and learning new things and having ideas but not making anything happen.

I learned that the bottom line is this:

If you want to have any kind of success,
if you want to make money as a scanner,
if you want to have some meaning in your life,
you HAVE to create something of value to other people.

And that means you have to take at least some of your ideas and follow through on them to produce something useful or interesting to others.

If all you have is ideas, you don't actually have anything at all.

The successful scanner

Decide today to follow the path of the successful scanner: Choose projects that use your scanner brain, your talent for idea generation, your love of learning, and then follow through long enough to create something you can share with the world.

Billionaire scanner, Steve Jobs, revolutionised computing, mobile phones, the music industry and more during his lifetime. And he put all his diverse interests from typography to shop design into his core business. One day he would be designing the glass staircase in Apple Stores and the next he was creating his vision for a new way to distribute music online.

Richard Branson is another famous scanner. The Virgin group contains over 300 companies but he doesn't run any of them himself. I bet Richard doesn't find himself bored by a lack of variety in his life.

Both of them started small, completing one project. Steve Jobs created a home computer kit with Steve Wozniak. Richard Branson started with a student newspaper.

Which of your ideas are you willing to follow through on to produce something tangible? You don't have to do it for life, but you do have to produce something.


Leave a comment and let me know what you think about this - and what you are going to choose to do first.