“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
– Dr. Seuss
In this article we’re looking at ways of finding the silver lining during difficult situations. This isn’t about excessive optimism, it’s about widening your lens, seeing the multiple and contradictory truths of a situation and stepping into other people’s shoes.
Instead of trying to be special in relation to everyone else, why not join us in embracing and celebrating ordinariness. Instead of trying to be what you think other people want you to be, why not see what your unique ordinary might bring to the party. You might just discover a much more extra-ordinary way of living. One that celebrates average and everyday events and feels hugely grateful for the ordinary relationships and experiences which make up a life.
In this article we’re looking at health through a holistic lens, in order to shift the focus from body weight to a positive state. The aesthetic focus that dominates our understanding of health is undermining many other important factors, like our mental wellbeing. By stepping back and looking through a system lens, we’re transforming a 1-dimensional definition of health into a 4-dimensional, all-inclusive celebration of healthy living.
Learning to live, lead and love with a healthy ego. Ego gets a bad rap. We are told to transcend the ego, release from ego, fight the ego. Yet, the majority of us don’t live on a mountain in the middle of the Himalayas where it might seem feasible to ‘starve the ego and feed the soul.’ We live in a world that incessantly provokes the ego. An ego that can protect and motivate us. As well as enrage and hijack us.
Is your life made up of lots of little surprises? If not why not!? Shake up expectation, spark up relationships and stay present and proactive by peppering your life with small and simple surprises. This isn’t about great big gestures, or lavish set-ups. In fact, the smaller and more regular the better, because when it comes to surprise, size doesn’t matter.
In this article we’re reclaiming our emotional baggage and learning how to handle it better. This isn’t about putting down all of our emotional baggage and throwing all of our issues over the floor: it’s about becoming aware of our emotional baggage, accepting that some of it will always be there and helping other people to reclaim and reconnect with their excess baggage too. Because our ‘baggage’ is what makes us human.
We can become conditioned into ‘being good’ from a very young age. And our experience of ‘goodness’ may often be subjective and gender-specific. One may be called a “good girl” for being ‘sugar, spice and all things nice’ and a “good boy” for being bold and brave. As adults, our understanding of what it means to ‘be good’ is likely to depend on the messages from childhood that we have internalised. And this definition of ‘good’ influences much more than our moral compass: it affects our day-to-day interactions with our co-workers, family and friends and also, with ourselves. So, what does ‘good’ mean? Compliant? Well-behaved? Talented? Successful? Top of class? Kind? Avoiding eating the donuts?! The list goes on….
Is striving for the ‘perfect’ Christmas leaving you feeling stressed?
If you answered ‘yes’ then you’re not alone. Research from the charity Mind revealed that one in ten people feel unable to cope at this time of year, a figure that increases to a third when we focus on people with ongoing mental health problems. Surprising given that this is supposed to be ‘the season to be jolly.’ But perhaps that’s exactly the problem. Are the social and cultural pressures to create a ‘Happy Christmas’ having the opposite affect? And is our well-intentioned desire to create a perfect Christmas causing us a whole lot of festive stress? In this article we’re exploring how we can create a truly ’perfect’ Christmas for ourselves. One that isn’t aiming for perfection at all but is instead, focused on Christmas connection.
Many of us grew up being told that it’s more noble to give than it is to receive. But if everyone is busy giving, then who is going to be available to receive all of that good stuff? We need a receiver in order to give. And in order to properly ‘give thanks’- as the holiday’s namesake suggests- we must first open ourselves up to the vulnerable art of receiving.
Why you ask? Because receiving opens us up and enables us to connect to others in deep and meaningful ways; it emotionally benefits the way we see ourselves; it brings more compassion into our lives; it gives others the opportunity to give; and if we model the ability to receive, we make it okay for others to receive too. Amidst all of the gift giving that the holiday season brings, can we also make space to humbly receive? To open ourselves up to the gifts that have already been given? This isn’t just about being grateful, it’s about acknowledging the beauty in giving and receiving and embracing this continuous state of flow. Giving and receiving are two sides of the same, intimate coin and we need balance. Join me as I step into the Thanksgiving celebrations as an open-hearted giver and humble hearted receiver…
Have you ever watched a horror movie or ridden a rollercoaster in order to recreate the experience of fear?
Well believe it or not, but we are doing this all the time. On a daily basis we are often unknowingly creating and living with the experience of fear, particularly in our professional lives. The great news is that fear isn’t fixed: we can change our response to fear by becoming conscious of the mechanisms behind the fear response.
Remember Septembers from your childhood and how it felt going back to school? Excitement at seeing friends again, sadness that the summer holidays were over. Looking forward to learning lots of new things…The latter perhaps not so much! So, as September draws to a close let’s think about our own timetable of classes. What are you excited to learn about in the term ahead? What new subjects will surprise you? And who might be your teachers? Join us as we consciously pack our bags for a brand-new year at “the-school-of-life”.
In this article we’re magnifying our interactions, in order to understand how micro experiences- the small, simple moments you might miss- can have macro effects. All of our interactions, good and bad, are made up of multiple micro-moments. Even one sales call involves numerous micro-moments, and the sum of those experiences will shape the customer’s experience of the company. So, this month we’re asking the following: are you conscious of the micro experiences you are creating in the everyday? And can you appreciate the micro experiences that other people are creating for you? Don’t underestimate their power. These seemingly small and simple moments create a ripple effect that can impact the dynamic of a whole relationship. To echo Google’s micro-moments advertisement campaign, “Life isn’t lived in years, or days, or even hours. It’s lived in moments.” And I believe this is true for all of our experiences, whether they be personal or professional, intimate or global.
Improvisation and organisational change: How to lead with flexibility and possibility in response to rapid change
Improvisation has a bad reputation and I’m on a mission to change that. One mention of the word in workshops and people start to shuffle towards the door, fearing that I’m going to force them onto the ‘stage’ to do something embarrassing. Which is incredibly interesting considering that we are all improvising, all of the time…
The commute has become an extension of the office ensuring that we can simultaneously travel and tick off the to-do list. Whether we use this time for productive work, playing a game or planning a night out with friends, our smartphones keep us constantly busy and never bored. But in eradicating boredom have we short circuited the mind’s capacity for creative thinking? Simple swipes and scrolls are innocent in isolation but when they fill up every crack and crevasse in a day, do they leave any room for anything else?
Technological advancements have completely transformed the working world: the pace is faster, the stakes are higher and we are no longer limited by continents, cultures or time zones. Our digital devices save time, money and offer us instant access to a worldwide community. This global network is shrinking space, time and is not only transforming how we work, but where we work. Yet, I wonder how much this 24/7, instant gratification culture is affecting the way we connect and communicate with each other, human-to-human?
Many of us are terrified of appearing foolish in public. We might be mocked, humiliated, laughed at or perhaps even alienated from the group, team or tribe. But what if there were very good reasons to play the fool? What if we are missing out on opportunities to be fearless and free because we are scared of looking stupid? In this month’s article we flip foolishness on its head and consider the benefits of being the fool. Read on to discover how clowning around might help you to connect to unexpected opportunities, inspiration and joy.
Beginnings are often associated with birth, January 1st, introductions and first dates. Yet each and every moment is, in itself, a beginning. We just aren’t always aware of these beginnings because they blend into the backdrop of our everyday lives. Just like the first bite of cake, beginnings bring an intensity that soon gets diluted as we start to normalise our experience, and by the 4th bite you’re bored and wishing you’d gone for the caramel slice instead. Same cake, different attitude.
When we adopt a beginner’s mindset we create a playful absence of assumption, free from fear and open to unexpected opportunity. Knowledge might give us power, but not knowing offers us an open book. So how might a beginner’s mind help you to invigorate your life with new perspective and purpose? And how might you bring your work, home and relationships back to the beginning? Back to that feeling of brand new…
Business relationships are very much like our personal relationships. They can be both fulfilling and frustrating and need a lot of tender love and care. Yes love- a word we rarely associate with work because it’s usually reserved exclusively for our personal lives. In this article we’re going to discuss how an attitude of love might help you in the workplace. This isn’t about sending Valentines’ cards to everyone in the office: it’s about bringing your authentic, honest self to the boardroom, so that you can create rewarding relationships built on the basic principles of trust and respect. So much of our working lives revolve around consuming that we’ve forgotten the fundamental art that underpins it all: connection.
Eat better, exercise more, spend less money. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that these were the three most popular resolutions for 2018, (closely followed by sleep better, read more books and get a new job!) January 1st shows up and suddenly there’s a desperate desire to sweep last year under the rug and wipe the slate clean. Over night, New Year’s celebrations evolve into ‘New Year New Me’ shame, inspiring impulsive urges to change and challenge ourselves. In this chaotic clean up we cling to commitments that WE WILL stick to this year because this is the year where everything changes.
What would a conscious Christmas look like for you? When we are surrounded by the festive season’s commercialism, excessive consumption and non-stop busyness it can be hard to stay connected and present. December flies by and suddenly we are starting a brand New Year with a negative bank balance, a severe a lack of sleep and a few extra pounds. Could practicing presence help us to have a more rich and meaningful Christmas? Katie Churchman explores ways to cultivate a more mindful and conscious Christmas and says goodbye to the pressure and the panic that so often follows the festivities.
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