Choosing your parents – conversations for Mother’s Day

As Mother’s Day, UK, awakes us, have you ever wondered why you chose the mother you have? Indeed reflect for a moment on your parents that formed your earliest memories and greatest conversations and without whom you might not have become who you are.

As I open my own life to new ideas this year, I ponder on the original programming in my mother’s womb and my younger years; wishing today to celebrate the happiness endemic in my childhood; and share with you wonderful insights into why choosing my parents was a really perfect way to get started that has led me to who I am in the world today!

My father was a gentleman, a truly remarkable influence on me. He lived very much in the moment while honouring his past and using his instinctive wisdom. I remember his conversations with me were always in a positive manner, especially when I was in a difficult time in my life. So whether it was challenging homework aged 16; rescuing me when left high and dry getting home from a party out with my friends; or a shoulder to lean on when my marriage broke down, he would seek to help me “be” and ask “what can I do to help?” He never ticked me off – or let me off. A subtle balance of trust, love and authority, he figured strong in my life, allowing me to be ME!

He adored my mother and for 64 years they were very happily married until he passed away aged 91 years. He and my mother taught me to be strong, courageous, always kind, loving, and conscientious. They created a home of conversations and laughter – an atmosphere in which to enjoy life yet to stand up and be counted; to always contribute what natural gifts we had inherited and grown; and to seek to serve others as best we could be. If only all family life across the world could be so!

For me, ‘my very being’ is about living an in-the-now experience, and loving living about which my parents were always great examples. I know that this formative experience lies within all I do whether with my friends and family or with my clients in the corporate land of UK business. Our parenting experience is where it all starts. The conversations we had, the love and celebration that founded our growth.

My wonderful mother is a stunning 93, alert, fun, caring, great grandmother and “mummy” to me and my brothers and sisters. She has always been a great conversationalist and continues to hold an inspiring space for all of us; and allows me to “be ME” as she has always done. She has always treated me with respect, encouragement and commitment to whatever I have done.

In my latter years, I have led a very different path to that maybe desired by her, I have laid my own journey into an entrepreneurial business world she doesn’t quite understand yet she joined me onstage aged 90 years to present to 150 corporate women without hesitation; I got divorced which is alien to her religious traditions yet she doesn’t let that upset her; and she always loves and supports me even when she’s worried when I take risks and seek higher goals that are unpredictable. She is caring and concerned yet trusting I will “be” alright. She blesses me whether I make mistakes or create success.

I do believe we choose our parents, I chose very wisely and I am so thankful for that. As mother’s day is a sharing opportunity, I make time to be aware that many men and women don’t have the loving gift and fortune of the life I have had from mine. They have helped me lay down how I now create my world at work and at play. I learn so much in this reflection today.

Everyone is ‘some mother’s child’, let’s not forget that without mothers we’d never be born…yes, I acknowledge that fathers play their part in the creation, however nature’s delivery gift is given to us women.

My daughter is now a wonderful yummy mummy to my two grandkids; she also teaches women to give birth in the most natural and gentle way, respecting their body and emotions as nature intended. I know she and my son chose me and I thank them for that honour and pleasure.

Thank you to all mothers across the world for the life you give; and to my mother especially today and her legacy to me to be a strong courageous woman in 2011.

Shaking hands with the future

Shaking hands with the future

Yesterday I engaged and explored life and the 3Rs with a group of 10 students at Lambeth Academy – these students are 16/17years old and this summer due to go into a work placement for 6 week and experience the world outside of their current world…that of ‘employee status’. An alien world, a strange world, yet to date their learning is only academic. I am here for an hour and a half to share my wisdom and hope to give them ‘ah ha’ moments that may seal their future confidence in those six weeks. I taught them how to shake hands with their future and practice the real 3Rs! “Respect Rapport and Relationships”

A lovely group, boys and girls, eager to learn and curious I suspect of this older woman in front of them. I started, I engaged, I got them thinking about who they are – I went back into my mind of being 17 again, being ‘me’. I encouraged them to just be their BEST:

B – be
E – extraordinary
S – starting
T – today

“Be Extraordinary starting today”…my personal mantra and motto for life – simple – yet how much do we reflect on our ‘self perception’ and know how others see us; how do we know what we do best, how we are best, and whether our best matches others expectations of us! Where as a teenager do we explore the assumptions we may be making about those we meet, and what does the world outside of ‘me’ require ‘me’ to be.

We started with a simple exercise Try it – write down three positive words about how you ‘see’ yourself, share these with your friends and colleagues. Is this how they see you? Can they add more? Can you add more to their list? In this simple exchange we give much more light to our personality as perceived and received! The more we know ourselves and others then the 3 Rs are easy! They roll with the dice of life.

Leading Victorian lecturer, Florence Shovel Shinn writes ‘Many people think life is a battlefield, it is not – it is a game’ and I know now that the ‘game of life’ is where I play and my work in service to my clients and all my friends is to help them ‘play’ too if they wish.

Florence says it is about the square of life- ‘wealth, health, love and perfect self expression’. I believe that our ongoing life mission is to share ‘perfect self expression’ especially in all difficult emotional situations. This is my journey now as I too learn each day how others see the world and how we can transform our world to be BEST for all us regardless of gender, culture, age, ethnicity, religion, sexual preference and disability.

I know at their age I knew nothing other than what my family and school had showed me. And I was so fortunate to choose the parents and family that I had. I was brought up in a strong, loving, together, Catholic family. There we had loads of together activities, sharing of events and laughter. I was a happy child yet very naïve and gauche. It took me a long lifetime to learn the real 3Rs… as I taught yesterday, as “Respect, Rapport and Relationships”….

And so for my class yesterday it was the first time they were engaged to think and feel about their self-perceptions, how others saw them, how to see themselves as part of the cycle of all life – home, social, family, work, and community. I shared my core model for personal development (and life); my ‘value cycle’ which shows how ‘my best’ is key to all rapport skills, and to all relationships from one-to-one friendships, group pals, work mates, families and social cohesion. I shared with them how to see themselves in pole position in their life.

A key exercise was to shake hands and say they name clearer decisively, friendly and with inner strength. It was a wonderful experience to be in as they laughed and shook each other’s hands enthusiastically and become bold with their name. Simple things make huge differences. Even the teacher present realized no-one had ever taught him how to shake someone’s hands. Too often the most important things are left to chance – yet can make or break a first impression and a rising feeling of confidence.

I showed the students how they merely need to stand into their personal power and see that all responses are their choice; they do require to be in ownership of their body, mind, heart and soul; and take responsibility for all that happens (not blame others); and finally they need to underpin all this their own personal healthy energy. A challenge to their youthful desire to party, drink, smoke and eat fast food!

Simple yet powerful, they all started to see themselves as the driver of their own cycle of confidence not at the mercy of others. They got the point. I will return to meet them again in September and chat about their ‘perceptions’ of the workplace once experienced.

These students are our future employees, our entrepreneurs, our leaders of industry – we need to teach them how to ‘be’ in the workplace not just ‘how to work’.

Welcoming 2010 with Wisdom

Socrates says ‘Wisdom starts with wonder’ and what wonder do we see ahead. 2010 opens up in London with a blue sky and a bright outlook. For me this year brings new hope, potential opportunities for men and women, for business and social enterprise, for communities everywhere, a possibility for happiness and abundance. I have often been accused of a naive optimism and a child like wonder about human beings and their natural capability and courage to overcome all obstacles and find happiness!! I don’t intend to change! The new year for me holds a wonderful sense of world scope for change and maybe a touch of magic. For those who are willing to look with wisdom, insight and radical innovation – looking forward and not getting stuck on the past solutions, rules and restrictions, there are endless possibilities, economically, socially..even politically with a UK election on the agenda!

However the world is a tough place and many people have had a challenging 2009, and I believe we have to work together to make a difference. Now our choices and responsibilities move into a higher consciousness about life and work. It is time to strive with collective and personal intention to co-create a new way of being, a healthier way of working and a far more inclusive society that embraces positivity, abundance and collaboration.

I offer a few intentions that I and my team are commited to deliver to help create a balanced sustainable enjoyable wealthy healthy world – one that our children may enjoy and inherit!

Our intentions for 2010
1. To help build a sound economy where men and women of all ages, creeds, dispositions and personalities, and co-create a new way to sustainable measurable growth
2. To embrace social responsibility within the work culture of the UK and create work cultures that enable people to thrive personally and professionally rather than just survive
3. To reduce all stress and ‘bad behaviour’ at all levels of business, from boardroom to shop floor, that causes demotivation and unhappiness at work and so improve both employee satisfaction and customer service and loyalty in one move!

In order to ensure these intentions come into being, we have a few key values that need to be embedded; honour, respect, trust, encouragement, happiness, love and true collaboration; Let’s…

Honour all human beings, men and women equally, for their natural talents, and build a true meritocracy.
Respect men in current leadership positions as providers, operation and solution finders and show them how happiness and work together can generate results that count
Encourage women to grow and flourish in business as females using their full range of skills, their natural empathy, business flair and collaborative skills
Build business teams to embrace and trust both masculine and feminine attributes in the business mix, teams that value male and female needs, and ensure both integrate to deliver the best service and best profits.
Co-create business communities in the corporate global world and in the entrepreneurial world that collaborate, communicate and connect across sectors, to share resources, knowledge and best practice building magical conversations that deliver results for the long term care of our planet!

In 2010 I invite you to join our magical conversations that we are starting across the UK this year; conversations across boundaries, bringing corporate leaders, philanthropreneurs, researchers, academics, leading experts, wise mentors, ‘sisters’ and ‘brothers’ of all diverse groups, to explore, reflect, review, align, innovate and embed a new language of loving practice that sets a higher consciousness about life at work.