My Writing

My Writing

I get my best ideas from listening to people. Fortunately, that’s my job.

I like to say that people are my library, and my daily writing practice is a way to discover what’s in it: new ideas, inspiration, wisdom, and a little whimsy for good measure.  As your humble librarian I invite you to check out a new idea every day. No late fees ever.


Move your “NO” to “HELL YEAH!”

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
~ Will Durant

An absorbing, energising and inspiring conversation recently has me musing on the process and the act of writing and what it can bring to us. In that conversation, I was nudged to remember and once again sign up for the wonderful thought-provoking curations of Maria Popova and her Brainpickings (highly recommended!).

In that conversation I was guided to an article:  “Jennifer Egan on Writing, the Trap of Approval, and the Most Important Discipline for Aspiring Writers“, which has an anchor quote of:

write regularly jennifer egan

“You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly… Accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well.” (more…)

Choice and the Power of the Pause

Frankl between stimulus and response

“Between Stimulus and Response There Is a Space.
In That Space Is Our Power To Choose Our Response”

That quote is attributed to Viktor Frankl, author of “Man’s Search for Meaning”, the most personally impactful book I’ve ever read.

Two recent meetings have had me think about this “space between stimulus and response”, about the “the power of the pause”. about our freedom to make choices, including our choice on how to respond to external stimuli.

One meeting was at an art exhibit, where being among amazing portraiture contributed to a sparkling conversation on many topics. One theme was on the power of choice. After that meeting, I mused on Frankl and this famous quote around choice.


Wisdom and Kindness


Some of us always like to take time to make reasoned, rational, analytical assessments before reaching a decision. Other typically make decisions very quickly and are thought to be highly intuitive.

For those who make quick decisions, how do we know if those decisions come from Wisdom or come from Fear that makes us decide and act too quickly and sometimes make poor decisions?

Today I muse on both Kindness and Wisdom and hope this is of value in being guided to understand when we are accessing our inner wisdom in our decision-making.


The unexamined life is not worth living

the unexamined life.jpg

Or is it?

I believe in balance and rarely in set answers, in yes or no, either/or, binary choice etc.

Being human is complex.

We are rational and yet also driven by emotion, by what we sense, what we feel.

So, absolutely let us look at what Socrates meant and then consider what it means for leadership in business and organisations then consider the value of balance.

Are you a Serendipity or a Zemblanity person?


“Zemblanity, the opposite of serendipity, 
the faculty of making unhappy, unlucky and expected discoveries by design.
~ William Safire, The Right Word in the Right Place at the Right Time

One could call this an Unpleasant Non-Surprise.

Thanks to my friend Bruce Peters of Beyond Teal for sending through this article from TED, “20 words that aren’t in the dictionary yet“, with the note: “For when you run out of words or language to write about. Or, you could just make up your own… in your spare moments.” One of the words in the list was Zemblanity.

I started writing this on a Saturday morning, having already written three posts on a beautifully productive day. Serendipitously (of course!), the last article I wrote before receiving this note from Bruce, published yesterday as you read this, was: “Risk taking, trust, serendipity“, providing a segue to this post today. (more…)

Risk taking, trust, serendipity


“Risk-taking, trust, and serendipity are key ingredients of joy. Without risk, nothing new ever happens. Without trust, fear creeps in. Without serendipity, there are no surprises.”

~ Rita Golden Gelman

A friend shared this with me the other day. I love it !

Allow me to muse on this for a while, then link it into leadership. (more…)

There are no limits, there are only plateaus

bruce lee limits.jpg

“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

~Bruce Lee

I’ve written again and again about different ways of looking at the way we limit ourselves. I’m passionate about this in the extreme, and in my work, I’ve narrowed my focus to only work with highly successful people who are already making a “dent in the universe” and yet have a real hunger to make an ever bigger impact.

We all have limits, conscious and unconscious. Part of my place in this world is to help people not only to go beyond their limits but also to realise that there truly are no limits.

Bruce Lee smashed through so many conventions, paradigms, limits. This quote, though, highlight something known to people and to business leaders looking to go beyond and outside their limits, as it talks about plateaus. (more…)

When you change the way you see things….


“When you change the way you see things….the things you see change”

~Dr. Wayne Dyer

Each week I typically have at least ten 1:1 meetings, some with clients, some with mentees, some with new people, some with longtime friends, colleagues, past clients.

This past week, one recurring theme was “flipping paradigms”.

I talk about “smashing paradigms” regularly here on this site, with examples where often things are radically different.

Sometimes, though, all it takes to support someone with a shift is to “flip”, to look at things from a different, or even opposite angle.

Read on for an example, and also for a couple of fun “flips” related to the phrase from Dr. Wayne Dyer. (more…)

Innovation – doing things differently and doing different things

“Innovation is simply doing things differently and doing different things”

~ {yours truly}

I distilled my thoughts on innovation to this definition many years ago.

It came to me in the picturesque Scottish village of Tobermory one late summer evening when daylight lasts beyond 10pm. it was around 8pm, tourists were walking around looking in shop windows, yet all the shops were closed.

They’d fallen prey to the most dangerous words in business: “we’ve always done it this way”, where always in that country is generally to open around 9am and close by 5pm. Imagine that in a Mediterranean or Middle Eastern country. No ? Of course not, they stay open when there are customers, and in the summer that means long into the night!

It was while walking around Tobermory it occurred to me that they could really benefit from some simple innovation. (more…)

We are the sum total of our experiences

we are the sum total of our experiences

Yesterday’s post talked about the power of belief, starting with self-belief.

A core to #OpenLeadership is, then, self-knowledge, and recent conversations remind me of this quote :

We are the sum total of our experiences. Those experiences – be they positive or negative – make us the person we are, at any given point in our lives. And, like a flowing river, those same experiences, and those yet to come, continue to influence and reshape the person we are, and the person we become. None of us are the same as we were yesterday, nor will be tomorrow.” 


Leadership Superpower – Belief

A while ago I wrote about one Leadership Superpower, Encouragement.

Today I focus on another, Belief, inspired by the brilliant Georgie Loxton (if you want to truly look at what wealth means at all levels for yourself, she is who I refer people to, always). Georgie suggested I look up “the sketch guy”, Carl Richards (his site here).

I love the way he captures ideas with simple sketches, and the first sketch that caught my attention was this:

S00264_ImpostorSyndrome_large (more…)

Yes. You. Can.


Language is so powerful. It builds and reinforces beliefs in ourselves and others.

Whether leading yourself or others, as a friend, parent, employer, business owner, politician, writer, leader of a movement, there is incredible and simple power in offering another person your belief, to tell them “Yes, you can.”

Let me build on this with a few examples towards a pinnacle of inspiration I witnessed first-hand last weekend. Please follow me with this, the example at the end moved me greatly and I believe it will for you. (more…)

Do you have the hunger?

are you hungry

I’ve spent decades as an entrepreneur and working with and supporting entrepreneurs.

For those who have started and who run their own business, I ask them to tell their story about why they started their business.

The answer can almost always be distilled down to…. (more…)

Your time is limited…wait no more

Our time on this earth is limited. Live it to the full, every day, even when that means you feel down, shattered, floored.

Life is a rich tapestry of experiences. Live it. Wait no more!

your time ls limited

(video of the speech by Steve Jobs at the bottom of this post)

Today I give you the completion of a stream of consciousness I wrote on Friday, three days ago, when I got the news of Anthony Bourdain’s suicide, which I already wrote about briefly two days ago. (more…)

Movies with Meaning – Considering Cultures

This week a note. I like to choose to have only enough Structure to allow #Flow, and it feels to me that having set themes for my posts on Fridays (Smashing Paradigms), Saturdays (Writing I love) and Sundays (Movies with Meaning) is now too structured, so after this week I’m dropping that structure and such posts will be more sporadic and come as things #Flow !

Weekly series. Do please send suggestions via email, twitter etc. You can send a theme and/or specific movies. Each week’s post features three movies with meaning, so send in a movie with a sentence or two on the core meaning you take from it and a clip from the movie that speaks to that meaning….

Last week my weekly “Movies with Meanings” post talked about Culture in business. This week I’m musing on Culture from different countries and other “tribes”.

We are all humans, it is our infinite variety that makes us special. No one person is any better than another, no country, no religion, no orientation, ethnicity.

As Jamaicans would say, “out of many, one people”. One Love!

So, as a Scot living in London, a short (1″) video published this week gave me such goosebumps, such pride to be associated with that wonderful, rich country, as the video stood out as vividly different from the “us vs them” tone of the UK Government, the “hostile environment” they’ve created for anybody who isn’t “like us”.

“Scotland’s not for standing still, it’s for standing up. Standing up for those who’d call this land their home. Standing up for those we’re proud to call our own.”

For more on building Scotland’s fair and inclusive society, visit

So, the video and my reaction to it also got me to thinking about what Scots are known for. Perhaps something for another blog, but I’d say, having worked in so many countries around the world and discussed this, that Scots are known for such timeless values as honesty, integrity and, as the video so clearly shows, fairness.

You can trust a Scot.

In our disrupted and disturbed world, trust is a rare gift to earn and possess.

Anyway, to a few favourite movies reflecting different cultures in different ways.


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