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The wood pile and other homes

Newsletter: May 2016

Dear Web friends

Warm greetings once again amidst the rampant growth and furious nest-building of May!

A blackbird couple have actually built a nest on our wood pile – well, I say ‘couple’. It’s the female who does all the nest building apparently… though I’m sure the male is doing something useful. Like cleaning the car or ordering the tools in the garage…

On my desk at the moment are two rather different tasks… though maybe they’re not so different. There’s Hilary Mantel’s autobiography Giving up the Ghost, which is a brilliant attempt to get back to how she felt growing up… an ongoing journey, obviously. It’s part meditation, part diary of feelings and part observational tour de force. Caustic, clear, funny, sad – it’s certainly interesting for me to be led behind the psychological scenes of this remarkable writer.

Also on my desk are some leadership notes. Early next month, with my Mind Clinic colleague Mark Godson, I’ll be hosting a company training day on Managing People as People. Daniel Goleman believes good leadership needs three different kinds of focus:

Inner focus – the ability to monitor and process your own thoughts, feelings and emotions, for from these arise your intuition, decision making and treatment of others. This is the heartland of mindfulness, of course.

Other focus – The ability to empathise with others, which is the basis for all relationships and teamwork. Asking for feedback from others can be a help here.

Outer focus – Ability to understand larger forces and systems, which is the basis for strategic thinking. What’s the bigger picture here? What’s the hope for next year rather than for tea time or next week?

Poor line managers are the single most common reason for people changing jobs, so it’s important territory for organisations.

But that’s enough of my desk… which needs some tidying, to be honest. Instead, some retreat and book stuff in brief:

My Enneagram retreat at Launde Abbey in July is now full; but there are still some spaces on the What’s my Story? retreat at Sheldon, Devon in August. Details here:

I’m also taking bookings for the Beautiful Life retreat in October.

In the meantime, as you’ll probably know, A (Very) Public School Murder – the fourth Abbot Peter mystery – is emerging from its protective chrysalis into the public domain this month. The launch is in Salisbury on Wednesday 18 May, including a talk from me, Q&A and cake. It would be wonderful to see you there. Details here:

But if an evening event (and London) suits you better, there’s a post-launch gathering on Wednesday 25 May, 6.30 – 8.30pm in the Coronet, Holloway Road London N7. I’ll be there with books, some variously nice people, nibbles and the chance of a free drink if you catch my eye in an appropriate manner.

Do join us if it seems like a good/possible/fun idea.

Most of you will not be able to come to either, of course, in which case simply buy the book and be profoundly glad you’ve avoided all that tiresome publishing razzmatazz.

For now, though, I wish you good nesting, wherever you find yourself today. (The wood pile’s taken, though.)

With very best wishes


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