Can more skilful storytelling help disabled people get into work?

I found myself watching the television through my fingers last week.

No, not the latest Donald Trump outrage, which can certainly have the same effect, but seeing a 52 year old man’s dreadful debut  as a motivational speaker, in the BBC TV series Employable Me.

Andy, a motorsport businessman who’d had a stroke 6 years before, had a good story to tell, but it quickly became uncomfortable to watch him. He started off by showing an inappropriate (half naked) photo of himself, talked for 10 minutes about his life before his stroke and had no clear message to share with a sympathetic audience.… Read the rest

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Being the Story

I’m keeping it simple this month by sharing a superb Storify feed put together by Jude Habib of Sound Delivery, curator of the second edition of Being the Story. It  captures the highlights of a fascinating day with ten diverse speakers, some super skilful, others raw but authentic.

I especially loved Eddie, the recovering alcoholic from Liverpool, now nine months dry and focussed on photography instead of drinking. He’d been on five detox programmes but offered no after care had gone home and  soon started drinking again.… Read the rest

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Devon Lane

Past the houses, the lane dropped deeper towards the Avon.  The tree branches met overhead, forming a green tunnel, and either side the steep banks rose above our heads, thick with bird’s nest fern and a tangle of bracken, bramble and moss. The light was a subtle shade of refracted greens with highlights of colour here and there on the banks of pink ragged robin and the scent of late summer honeysuckle.

There was a tiny movement on the road a few feet in front of us: a small mouse heading the same way.… Read the rest

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Seeing and looking, steps towards creativity

IMG_5021I call myself the Creative Coach, but I have said little about what I think creativity is. Is it really a flash of inspiration, a lightbulb moment? I think those brief moments of insight only come from long looking and seeking.

I revisited the Hotel Biron, Auguste Rodin’s museum in Paris last month, where I was struck by a sculpture of a dancing couple, The Waltz, created by Rodin’s mistress Camille Claudel. It caught the pair in a flow of movement, the metal more like water than bronze.… Read the rest

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Ideas, salvation and imagination in America

“An idea is salvation by imagination” : Frank Lloyd Wright

Ideas, imagination and salvation feel necessary in America in the time of Donald Trump’s presidency. Where they will come from I cannot yet tell. But a weeklong visit to Chicago and a reunion with some old friends reassured me that hope lives on. My long held image of America as “the shining city on a hill” might be tarnished, but is not lost.

Summer is the best time to visit Chicago, when the breeze blowing off Lake Michigan cools rather than chills.Read the rest

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Picasso’s Guernica still speaks 80 years on

IMG_4334I made a pilgrimage to the historic town of Guernica on my first visit to Spain in 1981. But I’m embarrassed to admit I’d never yet made the journey to see Pablo Picasso’s painting, created in response to the first aerial bombardment of civilians on 26 April 1937. It would have been easy enough: the painting came home to Spain from New York, first to the Prado in 1981 and then to the Reina Sofia Museum in 1992.Read the rest

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Exposure and honesty in three continents

Chicago Sunday 3Exposure, that’s what we all fear. Being caught on camera when you haven’t had time to think about what to say, let alone compose your face, is hard for everyone, from business school students to charity executives. It’s hard to watch yourself back and know just how much better you could have handled it. But it’s easy to learn a few simple techniques to make the most of whatever time you do get to prepare.

So when the iOpener Institute asked me this spring to work with students from an international business school on three campuses in London, Chicago and Hong Kong, it was a challenge I was keen to accept.Read the rest

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Sights and sounds from a South African journey

It was my third trip to South Africa, and  it always exceeds expectations, it never disappoints. Last time we’d explored the lush Garden Route, this time we headed north towards the arid lands. Even before we got to Springbok in Namaqua, I was wondering just how desperate and just how determined the Voortrekkers must have been to even attempt farming in such a harsh landscape. The nomadic life of the Nama and San peoples they displaced was much better adapted to the heat and the dry.… Read the rest

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Opening the closed doors on domestic violence

I was surprised to get a Whatsapp message from a former coaching client a couple of weeks ago announcing the publication of her first book. It is just over two years since we worked together, but I’d never known she wanted to write a book, our coaching sessions had been about getting out of a dead end job and finding work that gave her more challenge and more space to be herself (which she’d achieved already).Read the rest

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Drawing on nature

The cold holds the gardens as if under a spell. Mist hangs over the walks where the weak sun breaks through. Each blade of grass across the lawns is rimed with frost. And along each bare tree branch there’s a tracery of ice. It’s so different from the familiar bustle of Kew with pensioners, babies in prams and toddlers all out for an airing. IMG_3785

I walk towards the pond in front of the Palm House and it is frozen: not quite solid but the ducks and seagulls skitter across the hard bright surface.… Read the rest

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Creative Insights

A rich mix of thoughts about careers, coaching and recovering your creativity in nature

 

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