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.


Being comfortable with solitude

Dumbo sunrise

Quite the view, isn’t it?

I recently spent a week back in Cayman, where I had upwards of thirty meetings, talking with well over sixty people, including leading a four-hour session for a team of twenty-two. I worked out that in all that time I had less than two hours at a stretch on my own on any day.

I then flew to New York for three nights, finding myself waking up on my first day to this view and, by dint of serendipity, with no plans at all and with my host not arriving back until the next day.

So, what did I do with that solitude and what can I share about the power of solitude? (more…)

Writing I Love: the longest writing. can be one line

42 Iain

At a sea swim in 2014, aged 16, my son Iain.. or, as I called him after this, “The Answer”..

“What is the answer to life, the universe and everything?” “42” ~ Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

I often share on this site under the theme “Writing I Love”. Writing and language can have the power to transport us, as well as to connect us. Sometimes all it takes is one line.

I love the writing of @nayyirahwaheed on Twitter.

Somehow this particular tweet spoke to me, and has me ruminating on single lines that resonate.

On that theme: “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” ~ Leonardo Da Vinci

So, today a selection of single lines today, from thinkers, from movies, from favourite books : (more…)

From Pooh to Cantona

This week I brought you wisdom for Leadership from the sagest of sage bears (apologies to Paddington, who comes a close second), Winnie the Pooh.

Today, I bring you the legend that is Eric Cantona, who I also wrote about recently in: “Ferguson and Cantona – Vulnerability and Strength“.

Yes, Leadership learnings from Eric Cantona. You come here expecting the eclectic, yes?

I’ll share learnings from an article he recently wrote, as well as my own reflections.


How Self-Aware are you?

self awareness archetypes

“Awareness is the greatest agent for change” ~ Suki Laniado Smith

“Leaders who focus on building both internal and external self-awareness…can learn to see themselves more clearly — and reap the many rewards that increased self-knowledge delivers” ~ Dr Tasha Eurich, HBR, January 2018

In January 2018, Harvard Business Review published an article by Dr Tasha Eurich titled: “What Self-Awareness Really Is (and How to Cultivate It)

Today a look at the question Tasha poses. (more…)

Changing and challenging perspective

Dumbo sunrise

The view from my friend and host’s loft in Brooklyn a few hours ago, just after sunrise on a cold and crisp 4c / 39f degree morning.

The inspiring view has me musing today on the power of changing and challenging your perspective. (more…)

Sharknado thinking


Sharknado thinking. If that shit can fly, your ideas aren’t crazy enough.

As Steve Jobs famously said, “here’s to the crazy ones”. Trust me, as a leader, you need more crazy ideas in your life, and certainly, your business does.

Get out of the goldfish bowl your swimming on and do some Sharknado Thinking! (more…)

To achieve, be ready to fail


This week I’ve been home in Cayman. Seeing my boys, clients, friends. There are so many wonderful elements of living on that small island of only around 60,000 people, and at the same time, there is an element of “big fish, small pond” mindset, particularly when it comes to sports. Big fish in a small pond. Top in Cayman is often too low a bar to achieve much beyond that, and can, in fact, act as a limiter. It can mean failure on the big stage internationally.

I can understand that happening, but what I do struggle with is people who don’t try. They aren’t ready to fail in order to succeed, so they don’t truly try. That way they have a built-in reason for their being defeated.

Let’s explore that further and look at why that happens and what can be done if one wishes to truly achieve their personal best. (more…)

Watch your language!


When I was a teenager, occasionally at school someone (yes, sometimes that someone was me!) would let slip a swear word in class. The teacher would typically say something like “watch your language!”. Interesting turn of phrase, now I think about it!

Language is really powerful, and awareness around and choice of language can and does make an enormous impact on our communication.

Today a few quick thoughts and ideas. (more…)

Gratitude + Presence


This week I am back in Cayman, with a full week of client meetings, a client workshop, meetings with friends, contacts, and, most of all, my boys.

What occurs to me at this moment is the powerful combination of :

Gratitude + Presence (more…)

What moves you? Writing, sound, pictures?

swimmer headphones

At the Rio 2016 Olympics, swimmers were given free sets of “Beats” headphones. Brilliant product placement, as it had been realised that almost all swimmers like to close themselves off from the world before their race and do so in a cocoon of sound.

Recently I arranged for my two older sons, both veterans of swimming at the Commonwealth Games, to meet the teenage daughter of a friend, a young swimmer who is now very fast for her age nationally. They had a great chat, with one of the biggest sparks of connection coming when they discussed what songs they put on their playlists to listen to before races!

It got me to thinking about how we learn, and also what moves us, speaks to us, inspires us.

All too often we rely too much on only one tool to connect to others, being the written word. This is a hugely deep topic, so today simply a few connected riffs that I hope get you cogitating! (more…)

Writing I Love – Robert Frost

robert frost woods

Today two simple shares from some writing I love, from the poet Robert Frost.

I’ve written many posts here on this site around “Writing I Love”.  Why do I do that on a site about #OpenLeadership.

Simple. Leadership starts with “Self-Leadership”.

Beauty, whether in nature, poetry, art, movies, special moments of connection. All moments of beauty have the opportunity to connect us more deeply to who we are, and to bring awareness to that is to create ever greater opportunity to lead ourselves and so to lead others, from our children and other family members on up to whoever we lead in our work.

So, I’ll share my own thoughts from two pieces by Robert Frost today.

What writing moves you?  (more…)

Forget the “Golden Rule”, adopt the “Platinum Rule”


The Golden Rule states: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

The Platinum Rule: “Treat others the way they want to be treated.”

The Golden Rule is cited so often it seems like a wonderful and positive aspiration.

However, the first time someone tells you about the Platinum Rule and suggest you “upgrade” your standards to Platinum, typically you’ll have a thought that often happens when you hear a piece of true wisdom and that is: “that seems so obvious”.

So now you’ve heard it, let’s talk a bit about it so you can look to where you might apply it, as well as where you may already have done so, or perhaps where you might see a real change if you use it in your next interaction with that person. (more…)

What I’ve learned from a year of writing daily posts


My first daily post on this site was one year ago, October 15th, 2017, with the post

Life is Wild and Precious, Be Present

One year later, this first daily post remains a favourite for me, as does the wonderful poem by Mary Oliver. Today, though, the whole post has special meaning for me on this anniversary of writing.

What particular resonance does it have for me on this day? What else can I reflect on today that I have learned from a year of writing daily posts?

Oh, and it never felt like I had to bleed à la Hemingway!


It’s OK to not be OK

10 Ways to Look After Your Mental Health

Last week, October 11th, was World Mental Health Day.

On September 16th, one of the most highly respected political leaders in the UK, Ruth Davidson, gave a comprehensive and highly open interview with the Sunday Times. The header of the interview reads:

“Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, on depression, her self‑harm scars and why she’ll never be PM”

Today let me reflect on a tweet Ruth posted on World Mental Health Day, and on where vulnerability is, in fact, a powerful strength for leaders and for all of us as humans. (more…)