Tag Archives: mentoring

Walking to Work: A Year to Live

I don’t know about you but Autumn’s always been a time of change and moving on for me. New schools and colleges started, leaving the day job, moving houses and, once upon a time, a new baby (Hello Clare). Then there’s writing this, this ‘what I do’ sort of thing for this website. Nothing as life changing and earth moving as any of those others. Or maybe it is? All new starts containing within them a sense of possible perfection, the pristine emptiness and possibilities of a new page, waiting to see what might get written on it?

The page, this time, is not going to be entirely blank. I’m not leaving behind all of the things I do. But in sitting down to write I’ve decided I won’t simply edit what’s already there. Because it’s Autumn and so time for a new start. Here goes.

After which promising start, written on a Friday in a nearby café (Hello Naked Lunch) over a cup of tea, I meandered around for a day or so. Coming up with not very much. It can be how writing goes sometimes. Though I’d decided on the ‘new start and almost blank page’ approach I needed to find some words to help my reader understand my general, and expressed right here, wish to work on a variety of things. I played around with a few words and phrases, thinking these might sum up the sections or paragraphs I could then go on and write about: stories, adventures, curiosity, being opinionated, helping out. But at three o’clock, going on two (it’s the day we turn the clocks back) on Saturday afternoon I was still stuck. Repeatedly erasing the paragraphs you can’t see where these new ones now sit.

Then I remembered I’ve already got a theme in my real life, never mind these literary devices like ‘the nearly blank page.’ A theme that’s sat behind or even in front of everything I’ve written since some time in August this year. Continue reading

In Conversation: The power of the spoken word.

Talking with Lucy Adams and Liam Black about life and the living of it.

This blog is all about writing and mostly about my opinions. Writing done quietly on my laptop, here at home or sometimes in libraries and cafés around Liverpool. And I hope my voice makes it through in these words I write. Because I don’t have one voice I use for my writing and another for when I’m actually speaking. Not consciously anyway. But speaking is different all the same as I’ve come to realise lately.

Liam Black 'The Social Entrepreneur's A to Z'

Liam Black ‘The Social Entrepreneur’s A to Z’

I’ve become particularly aware of this because of my participation in two podcasts my friend Liam Black has recently published of conversations based on parts of his book The Social Entrepreneur’s A to Z.

In each of them Liam and I are joined in the conversations by Lucy Adams of communications specialists Firehouse, who was previously Head of HR at the BBC. And there’s the difference, not the BBC but the conversations. The three of us could have sat in separate places on our laptops, in touch but only digitally, and the conversations wouldn’t have turned out half as richly as I think they have done. Or be half as fascinating as lots of people have been telling me they are. Continue reading

Being Yourself

Central Library - 1I’ve had a bit of a treat this week. If you know me at all you’ll know that two of the things I tend to go on about are doing the work you love and only the work you love – and the wonderfulness of public libraries.

Well this week I’ve planned an event all about this called ‘Being Yourself.’ And I ran it on Tuesday in Liverpool Central Library. And I’m in here now, the day after. Sending out notes for everyone and writing this. Perfect.

Broadcasting directly to you from the Picton Reading Room!

Broadcasting directly to you from the Picton Reading Room!

The whole event was based on a theory I’ve been testing out for the last 20 years or so: Continue reading

Talking with Liam: The Social Entrepreneur’s A to Z

You can now listen to two Podcast discussions by Liam, Lucy and me around subjects in his book: ‘Meet the mentors’ here and also ‘What would you do if you had a year to live?’
Liam booksThat looks good doesn’t it? I’ve always mildly envied people who are the ‘wise words’ at the top of chapters in a book. But not being a saint or a noted philosopher I’d never expected the words would be any of mine. But now they are. Here’s how come.

A few weeks ago I spent the afternoon in a recording studio in London. No, don’t worry, Apple Records hadn’t finally sent for me to be an unexpectedly late addition to their Merseybeat catalogue. I was there in Maple Street Studios to talk, not sing. And the talking was with two other people. Lucy Adams who, amongst many other significant things, has been Head of Human Resources at the BBC. And Liam Black, who has written a book. This one.Mentoring1We got on like three houses on fire, easily filling up the afternoon with conversations on three of the letters in Liam’s book. Continue reading

A year to live? 10 things I’ve learned

The culmination of a whole year of ‘Year to live’ posts and also part of a podcast with Liam Black and Lucy Adams.

A year ago now, October 2013, I began living my life with the constant and conscious thought that this year could be my last. Questioning everything, asking ‘Would I do this work, go to this event, spend time with this person if I thought I had a year to live?’ Reasoning that one day this will be true for all of us, but that of course we mostly never know. So why not live with this consciousness for a year and see what it does?dsc05973

I decided to write about it too, and you can go back and look at the posts and discussions that followed if you want. For me though, at the end of this theoretical final year it’s time now to reflect on the main things I’ve done and learned from doing it. I don’t say what follows will turn out to be all I’ve learned, but these are the first ten things that come to mind.

1. You truly never know the day.

I began this ‘Year to live’ in good health and as a theoretical exercise. Out running several times a week and fully confident in my own body. Then within weeks I was thrown into hospital land, a place from which I am yet to emerge. Continue reading