Let’s stop complaining & start doing

Comment

Let’s stop complaining & start doing

We can get so fixated with the current political situation that we forget what it’s really all about. On Friday I watched George Freeman MP cut a ribbon and officially open Chapel Green School near Attleborough. The sun shone, the children sang and made music and everyone enjoyed the plentiful supply of chocolate cake. 

The school supports some of the most vulnerable young people in our society. None of them asked to be born with often profound learning disabilities. All deserve every opportunity to learn, develop and play their part, however small, in making our world a more tolerant, inclusive and equal place. 

I was invited because a few years ago I had dared to challenge some long held assumptions about capital funding. I helped break the funding deadlock that meant these children were being taught in a 1960s school; a building that didn’t come close to meeting their needs. They urgently needed a new campus. 

Our local MP George Freeman had been amazing, bringing the then Secretary of State for Education along to see the situation for himself. I suspect he did some subtle lobbying behind the scenes too. It was fitting that he came along to cut the ribbon and formally open the new £14m campus. 

Chatting with George afterwards about the importance of leading change locally, I was reminded of something John F Kennedy once said: ‘Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.’ 

 Right now there is a very real opportunity to lead change at a local level. Once you have demonstrated public support, and can show how what you’re proposing will be sustainable, then political and national support will usually follow. But it won’t happen if all you do is look back to the past.

Comment

Why a career is like moorland heather

Comment

Why a career is like moorland heather

Rotational burning is an established practice on manged moorland. As they age, heather plants become tough and lose their palatability. A controlled burn takes away the old growth, leaving space for new more tender young plants to take their place. It’s what my career has needed for some time and now I’ve struck the match.

Comment

Breaking my addicton to stress

Comment

Breaking my addicton to stress

There's plenty of evidence to show that after a stressful period in our lives, we become addicted to cortisol, the hormone that powers us to 'fight or take flight' when in danger. Being stressed becomes the new normal and we unwittingly put ourselves under unnecessary pressure to maintain what has become our new equilibrium. It's probably why I drink industrial volumes of coffee each day.

Comment

When the time for change is right, you somehow know it

Comment

When the time for change is right, you somehow know it

In the summer of 2020 I will pass my 65th birthday, and also I hope, have a freshly printed MA in Creative Non-Fiction tucked under my arm. It will be my first experience of university life and will see me make the transition from social entrepreneur to biographer.  

But now with just six months before I become a full time student, the pace of my work has shown no sign of slowing. I’ve continued to be hopelessly addicted to solving those enterprise conundrums that get in the way of good people striving to make life better for others. Some have even doubted my ability to make the transition to student, then later, to full time writer. 

I too have had my doubts. But over the past week, things have somehow changed. I have lost the urge to jump in to solve other people’s challenges. I have also discovered how easy it is to say no, because pro-bono work was threatening to fill the creative time I’m trying to create. My body and my mind are telling me that the time really has come to make that change. 

I’m lucky in that I no longer need to work to earn money. So the problem has I guess been one of confidence. Will my chosen career change will deliver the social impact by which I now measure my success? But now I know that the skills that have made me a successful social entrepreneur will also make me a successful non-fiction author. I’ve written 19 books already, but never given any one of them the time they deserve to truly change the word. 

The next 18 months are going to be both interesting and exciting. Watch this space!

Comment