May 2024 – Update

Things are looking brighter this month, with a few exciting things in the pipeline, both professionally and personally. So here is my round-up for May as a coach, writer, and human being. Let’s hope the weather continues to improve 😊.

It’s okay to say no – at least to me.

The more times I circle the sun, the more I appreciate those people who can give me an unambiguous and respectful no. I may not always like it, and it may not be the answer I was hoping for, but a clear ‘no’ means I know where I stand.


I’d go further and say I would rather a hell no than a resentful and half-hearted yes. Because, in my experience, people can only give what they have, no more, no less. So, if a yes does not work for you, say no.

For those who have said no to me and those who might in the future, I thank and salute you even if I am a tad baffled or even a tiny bit miffed by it. I will manage, get over it, and accept it because a clear no frees me. It frees me to move forward with other options. If people feel empowered to give you an honest no, then you can do the same.

It is highly likely that if you say yes to one thing, you are invariably saying no to something else. Perhaps we believe that somehow a no is a reflection on us—but I don’t think that is necessarily the case; to manage our busy lives, we need to be able to say no on occasion.

I am also thinking about those who hold and respect their boundaries; I respect and feel safer around you because I know you will do the same with mine. I am wary of jelly people, as I like to think of them – those whose values, integrity and standards wobble about all over the place at the first sign of trouble.

And remember, no is a complete sentence, so it does not always need further explanation or clarification.

The Piano – Series Two

I was blown away by series one because it was a joy to see people playing at railway stations, unaware that Lang Lang and Mika were observing their performance. I loved hearing the stories behind their Piano playing, their reactions to learning about their secret audience and, of course, there was Lucy.

So, I did wonder what series two could offer that would be different – but I needn’t have worried. I am still hugely impressed by the people who step forward and play in public – especially those who share their compositions.

Seeing these pianists and Lang Lang and Mika’s reactions inspires me to shake things up with my piano practice. Maybe it’s time to try being a little freer with my playing, spending more time going with the flow, and lightening things up a little.

Because my current approach is a bit serious as I work through pieces, I want to learn and polish the ones I already know. But I’ve never allowed myself the time to just play to see what I could come up with for fun. Perhaps it is time to take a more loosey, goosey, and playful approach to a few practice sessions.

I’ll let you know how I get on, but in the meantime, what aspect of your life might benefit from a shake-up or an extra dose of playfulness?

And in this series, more so than in the first, I genuinely feel I am gaining free piano lessons.

Applying some compassionate curiosity

If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete – Jack Kornfield.

The above is one of my favourite quotes because it reminds me that compassion flows two ways. In our busy lives, we can forget to care for ourselves while caring for those around us.

Because it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, I am sharing this article again – Why some compassionate curiosity might be perfect right now.

Below is an extract from the piece I first posted in December 2020 – the same year George Floyd was killed, the same year we had climate disruptions worldwide, and then, of course, there was the Pandemic. I still remember how hard I worked to hold myself together.

During these times and the roller coaster of emotions I am experiencing; as a result, I am learning to check in daily and ask myself with compassion and curiosity:

  • What have I struggled with today?
  • When did I feel at my most vulnerable?
  • What has energised and uplifted me?
  • How am I grateful?

To read more, click on the link here.

So, how are you looking after yourself today?

Homelessness today

It has taken me some years to realise – but my increasing interest in homelessness might well be related to my precarious home situation as a young child.

For those whose parents came from the Caribbean to build a new life, having more than one family rent a house was not uncommon. Families routinely lived in one room while sharing bathrooms and kitchen facilities with others.

As a young child, I remember several different addresses, moving from house to house, from room to room, and this continued until Mum could secure a council flat when I was about seven or eight years old. I can’t know for sure, but we may have come close to not having a roof over our heads.

However, as I look around, I wonder what would happen to us today. Where are the homes that people need? Why isn’t having a roof over your head considered an inalienable right? Why isn’t having somewhere warm, safe, and clean to live considered an integral part of a society that looks after all its members? How much potential could we unleash if we securely housed everyone?

I could go on, but I’ve probably made my point.

Our council flat was the start for us. We did somehow end up with an African Grey parrot that very soon became the bane of my life – but that’s another story.

How are you investing your energy in times of organisational change?

A recent conversation with someone who sounded more than a little world-weary about the prospect of impending organisational change made me think of the Energy Investment Model and how we might choose to show up as change unfolds.

The model describes four communities of people and their behaviour during times of change, with each community based on a combination of two factors:

  1. The attitude someone has towards the change, either negative or positive.
  2. The energy someone invests in implementing that change, high or low.

Considering your organisation and the changes you face, which category best describes you?

  • Player – ‘Up for it, let’s make this work.’
  • Victim – ‘Stuck in a rut, ‘nothing I do will make a difference.’
  • Cynic – ‘Here we go. I’ve seen it all before and even bought the tee shirt.’
  • Spectator – ‘Sounds like a great idea; I’ll cheer from the sidelines, just don’t ask me to get too involved.’

I am curious about how people engage with change and how their engagement, or lack thereof, impacts others. I am also intrigued to learn how change is managed and communicated throughout an organisation. How do they get people on board? How do they look after their players?

So, if any of this feels relevant, click here to read more.

Until next time