Extinction Rebellion have a point, and it’s to save our species!!!

A glorious early September day. Mid to high 20’s with not a breath of wind.  We knew it was coming, so I cleared my schedule to have a Covid-Safe day out with Mum and Nan.  That’s the beauty of being able to work for yourself.  To take those opportunities for spending time doing things that bring you joy.

That, set against the context of an ever changing world, and one that’s doesn’t appear to be changing for the better.  Mum and I watched a programme on BBC, so it must be true.  And it was presented by David Attenborough, so it REALLY must be true.  That guy is 94 and has devoted his life to the planet and all its inhabitants, and to teaching us how to look after it. Did we listen? Erm, No.  No we did not.

If you would like an overview, here is an article from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2020/sep/13/extinction-the-facts-review-a-heartbreaking-warning-from-david-attenborough

If you can access BBC iPlayer, even better:  https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000mn4n

It is a heart-warming but stark warning to all of us, big and small, that it is our responsibility to change our habits, otherwise millions will be lost.  Millions of species, millions from our global economy.

Just as we have come to realise how interconnected we are as people, communities, cultures and economies during the COVID crisis.  The same is true for our little biosphere.  Mass extinction of the smallest of insects can tip the balance of our biodiversity, sending a ripple effect of destruction to the largest of creatures.

Even my Mum, who generally doesn’t get phased by such matters, has been rocked to her core.  So much so that she even wanted to continue the conversation the next morning and brought it up quite out of the blue.  It was clear to me she had been thinking about it overnight and wanted to talk.  She’s even discussing how we can be better consumers and think of other ways we can purchase our food and manage our waste.  Quite a remarkable shift I’d say.

But we can’t, as individuals, do it alone.  The biggest and most effective changes will come from the top down – for once I believe this is the best way.  Governments and big business have got to change how they produce and provide.  And we as a population have got to change how we consume and demand. 

Mum used to work for a supermarket and was telling me about the horrendous amounts of wasted food.  How farmers are forced to over produce so we can discard the wonky veg and have the all illusive “straight banana”. 

Aisle after aisle, and shelf after shelf must remain fully stocked in order for us to have 10 different kinds of brown bread on offer.  There is an entire aisle devoted to sauces, all flavours, brands, high fat, low fat, non-fat, sugar free, gluten free, vegan free, added meat, fake meat, high fibre, low sodium, full of sugar but that’s ok because its organic….. it is madness. 

Ok, I will agree that vegan and gluten options are needed for many.  But I detest the umpteen brands all selling the same thing.  We all know it comes from the same bloody factories, slightly altering the recipe then shove a different label on at the end.  Hell, Mum even said they would get it wrong sometimes and they would receive (what they could only assume was) their brand of butter, in their branded tub, with a different lid because there was an error on the production line.  And where did that entire batch go??  In the bin!!!  The whole lot.

And it’s not like the supermarket food is any good.  I can’t remember the last time I cried chopping onions.  Oh, yes I can, I was a kid, so thirty years ago.  And once a couple of years ago when I grew some of my own.  I even got out a garlic clove and got Mum to smell it – NOTHING!!!  I will put 3-4 cloves in my sauté veg and I can’t even taste it.  It’s so over-produced it’s lost its taste.  And I have to use even more than I should to get a hint of the desired effect.

Still in a state of shock and awe at what we had witnessed and now realise we experience every day; we made a pledge of sorts.  To buy local and better quality wherever possible.  Or make our own if we can.  Even if that means cutting back on other luxuries.  And we definitely won’t get it right first time, and we will no doubt make some mistakes or go back on our promise somewhere along the line.  But FML, I am ready to give it go because things cannot go on like this.  It must change.  Starting now.

Otherwise, days like today.  With my Mum and Nan, enjoying a day out.  As rare as they already are, might become non-existent.

Now it’s your turn to tell me… here

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Mastermind Groups

A few weeks ago I blogged about the mastermind group I have been a part of for over a year…

Here we are in action on our weekly call. 

10X’ing the discussion on how we might 10X our endeavours.

6 different specialisations, spanning 7 time zones and 60 minutes of endless possibilities…


Now it’s your turn to tell me… here

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Creatives got a bum deal in school and it continues in the work part of life.

I have been reading Natives by Akala, where he describes the complete uselessness of the education system in the UK.  And I could not agree more.  He cites Ken Robinson who asserted that, “… our schools do indeed, for the most part, kill creativity.”

This fascinated me, so I headed over to YouTube to look for the clip and it was, as expected, delightfully funny and insightful.  And when he came to his Gillian Lynn story I knew I had heard it somewhere else and remembered his voice.  So, the time I first heard it, I wasn’t listening well enough.

Now I am listening and this TED made so much sense to me.  I remember in primary school doing drawings, writing etc.  And I also remember the horrendous feedback I would get about such things.  I also remember being reasonably accomplished in school and has good (ish) reports with the standard, “Could do better if she applied herself”.  And yet, I still remember that negative feedback more vividly.  

Then in secondary school it really did slide.  Not too far and into detentions or exclusion, I think I just knew how to do the minimum to get through.  Then I was surprised, and quite upset as I recall (tears and stuff), I had achieved average grades at GCSE.  I got all 9 of them but was disappointed there were only 2 B’s and 7Cs.  Yeah I know, pretty good right?  Yet that voice in my head continued to pester me with its “could have done better” mantra.  Mind you, I got over it pretty quick because I had a part-time job and was just waiting for the summer break to kick in and my hours could go up.  More money for funnzies.

This particular TED from Sir Ken is dated 2006.  14 years ago.  14!!! Years ago!

So is it any wonder that creative people who learn and figure things out differently are experiencing the same brand of institutionalism in their work places.  We have all been subject to an education system designed for compliance, and some of us just don’t roll that way.

It is only now, 24 years later on from my own education, that I am finding my creativity once again and daring to fail and make mistakes.  I can only imagine what I could have become, had that huge blockade not been placed in my way for so long.

Ken said about a child in school at that time will retire in 2065 and we have no idea what that world will look like, so how can we possibly prepare them for that world when we continue to use largely outdated approaches?  Only last year, I repeated a similar revelation I heard on a recent podcast to a friend.  So, that conversation has not changed.

The fear I have is, it’s looking like the problem is not going away.  And it’s amazing that we are still stuck in this same cycle and nothing has changed, when in other areas we have become so innovative and future focused.

So now I am left wondering whether it is our inherent need to figure EVERYTHING out, might also be what is holding us back.  How might we trust a process and yet not fully understand it?  

You wouldn’t ask Mozart, “How did you come up with that piece of music?”  It is doubtful he ever really knew, because when it came to music, he could just play.

And yet, we do it to our creative employees every day, “why do you do it like that?  Is it not better this way?  Explain how you came up with that.”  And worst of all, valuing success – no matter what.  And fiercely berating anyone who dare make a mistake or fail.

Why can’t we allow people to just play?

Now it’s your turn to tell me… here

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Social Media – Does exactly what it says on the box.

After having a major falling out with all thing’s social media this week… I have had a major breakthrough…

Social Media is not about Work. It tricks you into thinking it is, but that just ain’t so.

Do we go to a gathering of friends and have analytical conversations about The Work?

No, we chat and discuss other things and it’s more light-hearted. It’s a means of escape.  

And as for the Media part. The dictionary definition is: the main means of mass communication (broadcasting, publishing, and the Internet) regarded collectively.

To me this suggests a one way transmission and note the use of “mass communication“.

So, is it any wonder you can’t find purposeful convos in the online places?  It’s because that’s not what it’s for. It’s a virtual pub, not a homeroom or debate club.  And Mastermind groups certainly work better in person, even virtually.  

The next time you think about trying to find a meaningful conversation on social media, remember: Try starting the same dialogue with the TV first, you might get further.

Alternatively, try reaching out to someone specific. It’s much more personal, generous and considerate. And the likelihood of getting an insightful response is greatly increased. And that means you can offer an intelligent reply.

And now, you have a dialogue worthy of everybody’s time.

Now it’s your turn to tell me… here

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“Zoomed out”… Really?

I have been hearing this phrase more and more and I even said it myself. I filled my day with lots of online calls with the intention of finding connection and purpose. Then when I got fatigued, I blamed it on the calls. When in reality, they might not have been the root cause.

We used to spend all day with people at work or school and then would go to the pub in the evening / play a sport / go to a book club / a second job / waste time travelling around… 

We didn’t often say we’re “peopled” out… we were just plain old tired. So what’s the issue?

The intensity of calls? Do they have enough purpose?  How might the frequency and the duration play a part?  

Only recently I spent 5 hours on a Zoom call and was up past 2am with my buddy in Argentina. Full disclosure – there may have been wine involved…

But, I didn’t feel fatigued or stressed out, I had a wonderful time chatting and messing around with my friend, just like we were in the same physical room together.

On a separate occasion (two days later I might add and so glad my friend and I change the date otherwise I would have not enjoyed this call as much – LOL!), I spent all day on Zoom doing a workshop.

We took breaks, stopped for lunch and mixed it up with main room and breakout sessions. Again, I would assert I would have been just as fatigued (if not more) had I needed to get up at silly o’clock to travel to an unfamiliar location and then endure the drive home after a very intense day of thinking.

Virtual calls are not the problem. It’s the purpose of the call that’s the problem, or lack there-of.  And this might also be a period of adjustment because we can still remember the “old ways”. We tend to default to our liked and familiar experiences, and this discomfort with virtual calls might be us adjusting, amplified by the reality that it’s now the safest and preferred option.

Which means it might be a choice thing and we don’t like not having choice.

Now it’s your turn to tell me… here

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Midweek Bonus Blog. Because Learning Matters.

There have been some terrible consequences for UK students in the fallout of the lockdown from COVID.  And if they haven’t had enough to deal with, an algorithm has significantly disadvantaged countless students as they progress to the next phase of their education.

Now, I’m no fan of our current approach to education or the ridged system it lives by.  So, let’s see if there might be another way…

Gen C-19, you have an opportunity to prove them all wrong.

Once upon a time, you would take an arbitrary exam, that resulted in an arbitrary metric designed to prove how good you are during an arbitrary time constraint. All instigated and governed by an autocratic system.

Now, you’re assessed on your overall performance over an extensive period of time. You are demonstrating consistency of learning, resilience in the face of challenge and persistence in pursuit of knowledge and understanding.

You could be defined as the generation that didn’t get to take exams in 2020.

Or will you be the generation, without the need for exams, still gets to prove your worthiness, progress and succeed?

Master Fear.
Practice Tenacity.
Share your Creativity with the World!!

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Creativity and Gardening – Take Two

Today was an important day… I had been agonising over this decision for weeks and was worried about the outcome… well both outcomes really.  Do nothing or do something… It was one of those, well it could go either way.  But if I do nothing then I know nothing changes and the likelihood of failure is more certain.

So, today came and I had to decide… am going to move the marrows?

I have spent 5 months growing 3 marrow plants from seed and to begin with I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to get them started.  Lockdown kicked in just before I was able to get to the garden centre and buy the seeds I needed for the summer crops.  

Ok, you’re thinking, just get them online…

I agree, simple solution right?  Until I realised – that is what everyone else is trying to do and the waitlist for seed deliveries was in excess of 4 weeks… timing was going to be tight if we’re to get any decent crops out of the season.

Eventually, these seeds turn up and I start the growing process ASAP; nurturing, watering, keeping them warm.  Until they are big and strong enough to be planted out and then the real fun begins, and the fruits of my labour really are, well, fruits.  Lush green and succulent marrows used in cooking, chutneys and jams.

Then I run into problems.  The damn marrows are growing at a rate of knots and before long, my garden is like Day of Triffids and the marrows are growing up and over the raised beds and I’m left playing the role of damsel in distress just like my 1960’s Sci-Fi counterpart.

The problem here though, this overhang of the raised beds is causing the marrows to fail.  They prefer to creep across the ground and this elevated position is causing them distress and the main stems are starting to split.  So now I am left with a dilemma…

Leave them be, as moving them can cause more distress and the plant might give up completely.

Or, move them to a new location on ground level beds and hope for the best.

I decide to move them because… well, it can’t get any worse.  Plus this means I might have a chance at successful fruiting and also the gap left by moving them will give more space to some other plants.

I prepare the areas with my military borne precision and carefully extract the plants and manoeuvre them to their new homes ensuring they are well watered in.  Oh, because I also decided to do this one the hottest day of the year…  Poor plants, their chances are not great at this point. 

I press on…

And finally they are in and I leave them to settle.  They don’t look very happy and the stress of moving them has caused the leaves to droop significantly and I look on at the limp tendrils with a clenched heart, have I made the wrong decision?  Only time will tell.

Next morning, I am pleased to report the leaves are perking up and the blooms are emerging.  It’s still a guessing game as to whether any fruits will flourish, but for now, I know I have at least given them a fighting chance.

Here’s more on Deciding, with Pete and Jen of The Long and The Short Of It Podcast:


Now it’s your turn to tell me… here

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My Hero has Fallen

What do you do when your hero falls from grace?

I’ve realised I’m in a bit of a “my hero has fallen” hangover.

The reality of what is happening is my hero is doing what every rational businessperson does in times of crisis – protects the investment of staff, resources and income. We all got bills to pay – I get it.

My interpretation of what is happening is, unfortunately for the likes of me (the regular folks) and my little bubble, it’s as though Eric Clapton can’t do gigs anymore so he’s doing online guitar lessons. And every music teacher around the world has gone, “Well that’s it… What the f&@k do I have left to offer?”

Which really means…… 

It’s time to get creative and level up!!!

Now it’s your turn…

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Creative Calling No.12 – Inner Critic

This video is about Creative Calling #12 – Inner Critic

With a break-up letter I wrote to my inner critic. If you missed the blog version a few weeks ago, here it is in full techni-colour and surround sound.

This is the final episode in series one of Creative Calling. The blogs will keep coming while series two is in production and due on the streets later in the year.

Series One has been about the writing process and finding the your creativity.

Series Two will take a look at the editing process, publishing and shipping your work out into the world… and all the fears and doubts that encompasses.

Tap the image and the video will open and play in YouTube.

Now it’s your turn…

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An architect, a coach, a consultant, a healer, a filmmaker and a writer all walk into a Zoom room…

This ain’t no joke, but there is a punchline…

No, this actually happened and this is the broad spectrum of expertise that make up the Mastermind Group I have been a part of for the past year.  And in that time we have all been working on projects in our respective fields, figuring things out, supporting each other and challenging the thinking that holds us back. 

Although we are all different, there are things that make us the same. The red threads that brought us together: Fear, self-doubt and uncertainty – driving us towards something more, something better. 

The impact is, when we are faced with these things, we know who to turn to for help and thrash out solutions to navigate these awkward moments of learning.

And the things that keep us together, coming back week after week, is when we witness a success or a breakthrough and when the emerging skills of this daring and quirky group of inspirational people, level up a notch.  And another notch and another. 

Drip by drip. Day by day. Week by week… we are getting better and we have others joining us on our quest in the pursuit of possibilities. 

Acting as if… who would you bring together?

And what’s the worst that could happen?…. They say “no”, oh well.  Who else then?

Ok… so now, what are you waiting for? 

Go boldly!

Now it’s your turn…

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