Thursday, 27 May 2010

Today's lost children

We all remember Peter Pan, don't we? For me it was a magical book when I was a child as I always liked the idea of a land far away in which children lived who could fly. In fact my copy of Peter Pan has my name written over it many times over as I was keen to claim ownership. Shame I did not know at the time that it was a family heirloom full of pictures by a famous illustrator, ahh well!!

I digress. The point is that the story of the lost boys came to me in bed this morning as I was pondering on how to respond to Josie's challenge. Underneath the outward layer of fun and games, there is a deeper underbelly or shadow side. I contend that to some extent the land of never never was where people went who refused to grow up and take on reality. They wanted to live in a world of fantasy whatever the cost and the cost was huge. The inability to give and receive love.

Does this appear at all familiar to you dear reader? How many people actually take responsibility for their lives and no matter what happens, are willing to say I am at choice here in how I respond. I can blame someone else or something else for what has happened or I can look for the opportunity that the situation presents and from that point start to grow. How many people do you know who actually embrace change? Why are so many people averse to change? Change hurts but as the alchemists discovered it is impossible to make gold without purifying metals and subjecting them to the fire.

Just so we are clear taking responsibility does not mean by default becoming a house owner or a parent. It does not mean the end of play or fantasy. Life can still be an adventure. One of the things that I am passionate about is enabling people to be leaders in their lives and thereby live an enriched life full of possibilities rather than one dogged by fear, uncertainty and feeling lost. Think what life would be like if everyone felt that their life had meaning and purpose.
I always like a challenge and Josie's prompts this week over at Sleep is for the weak provided that for me and I am very grateful for that. This post is a response to the request to take the word lost and be creative with it.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The power of love

I am loving life despite its roller coaster nature at time. It feels as if so much is coming together. At the end of the day it is all about trust. Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that last week something really huge happened. At the time there were all sorts of emotions flying round my head and not many of them were positive ones. How did it all change? Two things happened.

1. I gave myself a reiki treatment and it enabled me to see the whole situation from a very different perspective and enabled me to see the opportunity in what could have been seen as a very difficult situation.

2. I remembered that I am always at choice for how I respond to events that happen to me. I can play the woe is me card but by doing that I am in victim mode. Instead I was able to seize the opportunity presented and see the freedom it gave me. I was now really and truly my own boss and could take Minerva's Mind in whatever direction I wanted and see what happened.

And do you know what it has paid off because one of our members so likes the new direction that she has linked Minerva's Mind to her own fan page, The Return2workMums Club. We receive many times over what we give freely as this examples shows.

In gratitude and as a way of thanking the Universe, I am offering a limited number of free sessions to all those who are members of Minerva's Mind. If you could do with relaxing or more energy in your life then make sure you are a member and get in touch for your session.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

The end of an era

Four days on and I want to pay tribute to someone who has been a significant part of my life for the last year. I wanted to include a photo of her but unfortunately the one photo I have of the pair of us was lost when my laptop crashed in December. In a way that is fitting because she is a very private person. If you are curious you can find a copy of the photo on Minerva's Mind. Karen is the one on the left of the photo.

Karen and I set up Minerva's Mind at the end of last summer. We had a vision and part of it was that we wanted to work with Mums who had two or more children and were wondering what was next for them: go back to work, embrace being a stay at home Mum or forge a new path. We threw our energy into the idea and what emerged was a six week course, lots of publicity, a venue, shed loads of marketing from flyers to all sorts of online routes. Unfortunately there were insufficient takers for it so it never ran. Undaunted we then created Minerva's Mind at Home which generated some interest but again did not really take off.

Increasingly as the months rolled on, cracks began to appear. Let me explain. Karen has a very successful business as an HR professional. She learnt how to use wordpress earlier this year, initially as another way of promoting Minerva's Mind, and in the spirit of play set up her HR blog which has been hugely successful, attracting lots of interest and comment. This helped her to see which way she wanted to take her business and it was different from what I had in mind. Things drifted for a while but then she had the courage to say this is not working and it is time for me to move on. I have huge respect for that because although I too could see it and was getting frustrated about stuff, I did not make the call.

Here's what I learnt from Karen. She is a consummate professional in all that she does. She has very high standards, is very composed and self-contained too. She also holds strong convictions and values - no one gets between Karen and her family for example. From these and other things I observed during our working relationship, I can see how she got to the position of HR Director in an NHS Trust. In addition she gave me the space to grieve the loss of our business partnership for which I am truly grateful because it has allowed me to come out the other side and start working on my ideas. Finally and perhaps most importantly, going through the whole creative process with Karen including the running of events together, showed me that I am a good facilitator.

All that remains is for me to say thank you to Karen for all that you have given me. I hope you will retain your link with the Minerva's Mind fan page and I wish you all the best with your endeavours going forward. I will always think back on our time together with fond memories.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Why can change be so immutable?

This weekend I watched the famous film The Wrestler. I mention it because it really rocked my world. Firstly when I heard that it was the film we had received from Love Film, I was not confident that it was one that I wanted to watch. Then my partner told me that Mickey Rourke was in it and I remembered why I had chosen it in the first place. I have a secret admiration for the man who has not had an easy life.
Watching it reminded me why change is so difficult. Here was a man who had become well known for wrestling. He nearly dies and the doctor tells him in no uncertain terms that he has to change his lifestyle. To give Mickey Rourke's character his due, he tries. However, like many
photo reproduced thanks to DC Wooten
people coming out of prison, he fails to make meaningful relationships. So his response is to say f**k it and return to the world of wrestling. No conclusion is reached but it is clear that going back to the fight will jeopardise the wrestler's health.
For me it was a clear example of why change is so difficult. We all have a preconception of our worth in the world and that is so clear often that it is very difficult to change. When we genuinely try and make those changes, we are ridiculed by those most close to us like our family and best friends. This happens because we are not behaving in the way that those that know us expect us to behave.
Why have I spent so much time going through the plot of the film and what happens when we try to initiate change because it explains why 70 % of change initiatives whether in the workplace or personal space fail. It is not just down to us but how those around us expect us to behave.
The key to successful change happens on an individual level. It is all about believing that change is possible and sticking with that vision through thick or thin. So if you are struggling to see a change come about, think about the wider picture and what may be impeding that and from that view as the observer make a decision about how to change.
Love to hear your thoughts especially at the moment when I am having to deal with a change that has been thrust upon me and am dealing with the side effects which means handling grief and loss brought about because of the change.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Hung parliament: an opportunity for electoral reform

On Tuesday, I appeared on BBC1 to talk about my thoughts on the election and predicted that there would be a hung parliament. Unlike the Tory Party I believe that this provides us with an opportunity. It means that there will need to be a degree of compromise if any two or more parties are to work together to form a majority in the House of Commons. This in itself will mean that all parties will need to listen to each other to find a way through the current ambiguity. For more information on what a hung parliament could mean for the country then do check out this.

Most importantly a hung parliament provides the biggest mandate to bring about change and electoral reform. Many of us have wanted to see a form of proportional representation introduced for some time and have been frustrated about the lack of progress. Also it would be wonderful to have a parliament with representation from minority parties in particular the Green party. I, for one, was heartened to discover that we have our first Green MP in Brighton.

Over the next few hours, the Conservatives and Lib Dems in particular are going to find themselves engaging in negotiations with the hope of making a backroom deal. What I am going to ask you to do is to take five minutes and have your say on electoral reform by letting senior Lib Dem politicians know how you feel here. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity so don't miss it.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

How to be an author, a Mum and deal with OCD

Today I am happy to host Vrinda Pendred, Founding Director/ Editor of Conditional Publications, a new independent publisher dedicated solely to publishing the works of authors with neurological conditions. Their first book, Check Mates, comes out on 11 May 2010.

Yesterday Vrinda stopped by Charly Latham's blog and if you missed it you can go here This is the tenth stop on Vrinda's 14 day blog tour to promote this ground-breaking book new book.

What makes it ground-breaking is that "Check Mates" is a collection of short stories and poetry either about or inspired by the struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), all written by people with OCD. It is arranged into two categories, Realism and Beyond. Whether feet on the ground, allegorical, or completely fictional, all the compelling work in this collection portrays the true story of this misunderstood condition. It is also the first ever fiction work completely written by OCD authors.
If you find this interview inspiring then sign up for the book launch reminder so you can buy Check Mates and receive over 30 free personal development gifts on 11 May 2010. Go to

1. What are your tips for success as an innovative woman entrepreneur?

I basically have one overriding tip: never, ever give up. If you really want to do something then you can. Accomplishment is partly down to ability and mostly down to motivation and passion for what you are doing. As long as you have the drive, you will be willing to develop the skills and techniques necessary to achieve your goals and you will stop at nothing to get where you want to be. Sometimes I see people trying so hard to be something, but if you tap into what you already are, then there is no stopping what you can achieve.

2. How do you do it and make time for your child and deal with OCD?

I try not to think about the whole picture too much because it can become overwhelming. I also keep my goal in mind - I am an incurable dreamer and always have an image of what I want for the future, and this keeps me motivated to continue through the hard times because I am determined to make an easier future. I then break everything into bite-sized morsels - if you've got a zillion things to do, make a list on paper so that they are on paper rather than swimming around in your head driving you crazy (this is especially helpful if you have OCD). Rearrange them according to what needs to be done by what date. Then if you see you have six things to do by the end of the week, only put 1-2 things down in your diary to be completed by the end of the day. If, on one day, it turns out you still have got the energy and time to do extra things, then go for it but don't put pressure on yourself to do that. Always know that you can do a little each day and everything will be fine because you are meeting your deadlines. Then you'll have that tiny bit of extra time left over to devote to other things that you need to do .... or just to have a break! I devised this method when I was planning my wedding two years ago and what originally felt like the most daunting task suddenly became so easy. People said I was the calmest bride they had ever seen and the first that they had seen who actually enjoyed her day because everything went to plan. I now believe this is how to handle everything.

And if I find myself in a place where I just don't know how I am going to get through the next few days because I have got SO much to do, I keep reminding myself that once it is over I never have to do it again!

3. What would your message be to other women especially Mums who feel they have a book in them and have many other things to juggle at the same time?

If you really feel that there is a story bursting out of you, then let it out. Try not to worry too much about who/ what you are writing it for; just write it for yourself. If you want to take things further later, that's another step to think about once the book is finished. For the moment, don't pressure yourself when you already have a lot on your plate, and the inspiration will just flow and flow. As for juggling things: like I say take "baby steps." In the short term, you may feel you are not getting much done but give it a year and look how far you have come.

Vrinda will appear tomorrow on the wonderful Callie Carling's blog on 6 May at or And remember to sign up for the book launch at